After a thrilling week of tennis in Andalucía at the ATP Marbella Open, just two players remain in contention for the title. Both have played some superb tennis this week and have plenty of clay-court pedigree. But will it be Pablo Carreno Busta or Jaume Munar who lifts the title in Marbella?
ATP Marbella Open Final Prediction
Pablo Carreno Busta vs Jaume Munar
Head-to-head: first meeting
It has been a fairly stop start season for Carreno Busta, the top seed at the ATP Marbella Open. The Spaniard began his season at the ATP Cup, where he won both of his round-robin matches but was beaten by Fabio Fognini in the last four. He then reached the third round at the Australian Open, but withdrew trailing 0-6 0-1 to Grigor Dimitrov. He returned to action in Dubai, but crashed out in the second round at the hands of Marton Fucsovics.
However, he has looked more assured so far in Marbella. After a first-round bye, he opened his campaign with a 7-6 6-3 win over his countryman Mario Vilella Martinez. Carreno Busta backed that up by getting the better of Kwon Soonwoo in the quarterfinals, for the loss of only four games. That set up a semifinal clash with the fourth seed Albert Ramos Vinolas. It proved to be a serious examination for Carreno Busta, but he came through it a 6-1 3-6 7-6 winner.
Munar, meanwhile, arrived in Marbella a week earlier to compete at the Challenger held in the same location. The 23-year-old reached the final at that event, where he was edged out in three sets by Gianluca Mager. But he has not let the disappointment of that defeat derail him this week. Munar started his week with a 6-4 6-1 win over Henri Laaksonen and he has continued to impress since. In the second round, he thrashed second seed Fabio Fognini to reach his second tour-level quarterfinal of the season.
There he battled past Ilya Ivashka in three sets. Waiting for him in the semifinals was the young gun Carlos Alcaraz, who had looked very impressive in dismissing the third seed Casper Ruud 6-2 6-4 in the quarterfinals. But Munar, who has been ranked as high as world #52, was able to use his considerable experience to hold the younger man at bay, eventually claiming a deserved 7-6 6-4 win and a place in a tour-level final for the first time in his career.
Unfortunately for Munar, it is hard to see him getting past Carreno Busta in the final. Munar has looked very sharp of late and is clearly thriving back on the European clay, but this does not look like a good match up for him. His strengths are his movement and his consistency from the back of the court, which are both very useful on the clay, but also both areas where Carreno Busta is better still. This may well go the distance, but expect Carreno Busta to have the edge.
Prediction: Carreno Busta in 3
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