One of the shortest ATP finals in terms of height (each player 175 cm) that lasted 2 hours 33 minutes, and delivered two surprising twists. In the 2nd set Montanes led 4:2* (30/0), had two match points at 5:3* (FH error, FH winner), then was two points away from the title serving at 5:4 (30/15) & served once again at 6:5. In turn, Gil jumped to a *3:0 (deuce) lead in the decider, then was six points away from sensational triumph at 4:2* (30-all). Gil became the first Portuguese to compete in an ATP final… If Montanes had lost the third set, it would have been his first defeat squandering a match point in his tenth year at the main-level (!) – exceptionally long period, but the Spaniard intertwined ATP events with qualifications & Challengers. Judging by his scorelines he could lose MP-up matches at lower levels to: Fraile, Ventura, Gasquet, Hernandez, Dustov, Kunitsyn, O.Rochus, Volandri (i know vs. Volandri he was 3 three points away)
“It feels great to defend the title, my fourth career title,” said Montanes. “This is a special place for me and I’m happy to have won it again. I am definitely playing the best tennis of my career and if I keep playing like that I think I can break into the Top 20.” Gil admitted: “I want to compliment Montanes, who stayed there all the time and forced me to play my best tennis. He never stopped running and that is why he is ranked in the 30s and I’m at No. 134.”
Montanes’ route to the title:
2 Daniel Gimeno-Traver 6-1, 6-2
Q Pablo Cuevas 6-4, 6-3
S Roger Federer 6-2, 7-6(5)
W Frederico Gil 6-2, 6-7(4), 7-5
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