Two three-set marathons to reach the final of the Lisbon Challenger

Two epic duels which took over two hours defined the finalists: Díaz - Capra vs Nerone - Ruiz  

Two three-set marathons to reach the final of the Lisbon Challenger

The opening semifinal on centre court was Gonzalo Díaz - Luciano Capra vs. Martín Sánchez Piñeiro - José Antonio García Diestro. Both pairings struggled to hold onto serve in the early exchanges, until the Argentines managed the first break of the match in the fourth game. Godo Diaz's talent and Capra's mobility on court gave them the first advantage.

With that break, the Argentines continued to improve on court. Diaz and Capra took the first set 6-3 in just over 37 minutes and from then the match levelled out, evolving into an epic battle.

The Spaniards reacted in the second set, cutting down their unforced errors and choosing their shots better. This way they took the second set 6-3 and forced the match into a third set.

Fatigue started to play a role in the third set, where neither pairing managed to open up a clear advantage. Godo and Lucho had two match points in the tenth game but didn't convert and they had to continue fighting to reach the final. At 5-1 in the tiebreak, Diestro and Piñeiro dug deep again to hold on and even had two match points themselves. Godo Diaz's talent shone through, with some out-of-this-world off the wall returns which helped them through to the final. They received a well-deserved ovation from the Portuguese crowd who saw how there is no success without pain or effort in padel. An absolutely stunning match.

All that was left was to find out who would take on Godo and Lucho in the final. Alex Ruíz - Sebastián Nerone and Germán Tamame - Ignacio Gadea were the candidates. The latter got off to a better start by breaking their opponents' first serve. The Argentine and Andalusian seemed to recover, but Gadea and Tamame broke again to take a 3-1 lead and they clawed onto that lead until the end of the set. They did so using the same weapons that helped them reach the semifinals, Gadea's control on his volleys and lobs, and Tamame's experience in his shot selection, ensuring they would take the first set 6-3. Nerone and Ruiz weren't willing to let things end this way and they fought back to win the set 6-4.

There would be another marathon match in Lisbon. The nerves, fatigue and unforced errors started to become key factors. Nerone and Ruiz controlled all of these factors better and broke in the fourth game. They consolidated this advantage to lead 4-1. A blow that deeply affected Gadea and Tamame, who lost 6-1 after just over two hours of play.

The final of the Lisboa Challenger 2017  is ready. At 12h (GMT) Godo Díaz - Lucho Capra will face Seba Nerone - Alex Ruíz in a clash that will put an end to a great week of padel in Lisbon.


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