Breaking Down the Quarterfinal Matchups at the 2014 Portugal Open
Tomas Berdych and Milos Raonic headlined the competitors at the 2014 Portugal Open. They have done their part by advancing to the quarterfinals.
Raonic is looking for his first career title on clay and first title of 2014.
Berdych aims to end his clay-court title drought. He has not won a title on the surface since Munich in 2009.
The other seeds have not fared well, with five out of six going down early. The only other seed remaining in the draw is the Spaniard Marcel Granollers.
None of the men remaining has ever won the Portugal Open. The last remaining past champion, Albert Montanes, was knocked out by Granollers in the last round.
Let's take a look at who will be taking a step closer to winning as well as break down the quarterfinal matchups.
Tomas Berdych (1) vs. Leonardo Mayer
The top-seeded Tomas Berdych cruised through his match against Somdev Devvarman 6-2, 6-3. However, he felt like he could still improve his play.
According to ATPWorldTour.com, he said, “I took my chances very well, even though I was a bit down, especially on my serve. There's a lot of space to improve. [In the quarterfinals] I need to go out there very focused and play my best tennis.”
Berdych will take on Leonardo Mayer in the next round. Mayer upset sixth-seeded Joao Sousa and then beat Andrey Golubev to advance to the quarterfinals.
The Argentinean lost to Berdych in their only previous meeting. However, that came on the hard court.
Mayer will have a slightly better chance on clay, but the upset is still very unlikely.
Prediction: Berdych in straight sets
Gastao Elias vs. Victor Hanescu
For Gastao Elias, there is something special about playing at home. The Portuguese native is in the quarterfinals for the second year in a row. Four of his six career victories have come at this tournament.
He reached the quarterfinals by upsetting fourth-seeded Guillermo Garcia-Lopez 6-4, 3-6, 6-2.
Elias will be facing Victor Hanescu in the quarterfinals who defeated Pablo Carreno Busta 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 to advance.
Hanescu holds the experience edge over Elias, but Elias has the home-court advantage.
They played once on the Challenger Tour back in 2012. Elias won that one 3-6, 7-5, 6-3.
However, I like Hanescu to win this time. Elias is not used to playing on the big stage and has not had much success at this level.
The experienced veteran will come out on top in a close match.
Prediction: Hanescu in three sets
Daniel Gimeno-Traver (Q) vs. Marcel Granollers (3)
Daniel Gimeno-Traver has won five matches to reach this point. He originally had to qualify to receive entry into the main draw.
He will go up against fellow Spaniard Marcel Granollers in the quarterfinals.
Neither player has had a great season thus far, but both men are much more comfortable on clay.
Gimeno-Traver leads their head-to-head matchups on all levels, 4-2. However, four of those matches took place in 2008 or earlier.
Granollers has surpassed Gimeno-Traver since then—as is shown by the almost 70 ranking spots between them.
Look for Granollers to come out in a close one.
Prediction: Granollers in three sets
Carlos Berlocq vs. Milos Raonic (2)
Milos Raonic advanced to the quarterfinals with a win over Pablo Cuevas.
According to ATPWorldTour.com, Raonic had this to say after the match:
It was difficult to find momentum, so overall I look back on the match and I'm happy with how everything went, I have to keep getting better in every match. If I do so, the opportunity will be there [to win the tournament] and it'll be about me stepping up and taking it.
Berlocq is the more natural clay-court player, but he does not possess the talent of the Canadian. He advanced to the quarterfinals with a win over Lukasz Kubot.
The Canadian leads their head-to-head matchups, 2-0. However, neither of those matches took place on clay—the worst surface for Raonic's power game.
Raonic is still developing his game on the surface, so I could see the veteran Argentinean causing him some trouble.
However, I see the more talented Raonic coming through in the end.
Prediction: Raonic in three sets
All stats courtesy of ATPWorldTour.com