“Atmosphere Was Unbelievable”: Joao Sousa Breaks Down on Reaching Finals at Tata Open Maharashtra 2022

Published 02/06/2022, 6:11 AM EST
Tennis – ATP Masters 1000 – Italian Open – Foro Italico, Rome, Italy – September 15, 2020 Australia’s John Millman after his first round match against Portugal’s Joao Sousa Pool via REUTERS/Clive Brunskill

Joao Sousa has been in the ATP circuit for a long time now and had tough runs in various slams. He never cleared the 4th round in 42 Grand Slam attempts. But the Portuguese ace never gave up. He kept on playing tennis and won 3 titles in his 15-year career.

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His last title was in 2019 when he won the home title in Estoril, defeating Daniil Medvedev in the finals. He became the only Portuguese to win a home title, but soon after that, his form and eventually his ranking was on a decline.

The Portuguese Davis Cup team with Frederico Gil, Rui Machado, Joao Sousa, Leonardo Tavares and team captain Pedro Cordeiro pose after the official Davis Cup draft ceremony in Bern, Switzerland, Thursday, July 7, 2011. Switzerland faces Portugal in the Europe/Africa Zone Group I second round. (AP Photo/Keystone, Peter Klaunzer) GERMANY OUT – AUSTRIA OUT

Come 2022, he got eliminated in the Australian Open at the hands of Italian sensation Jannik Sinner in the 1st round. It was one of many early exits in a 3 year period. But the resilient 32-year-old didn’t lose heart, and participated in another ATP 250 event in Pune Maharashtra.

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Sousa vs Ymer Semis tussle

Ymer’s win against World number 15 and 1st seed Aslan Karatsev was a remarkable one. He was a favorite for the game. Age, form, and momentum were with the 25-year-old Swede. But Sousa has a never-say-die attitude for the game.

Ymer won the 1st set 5-7 and looked all set for the finals with 3 match points in the 2nd set. But World rank 137 was not letting the match go and made a strong comeback winning the set in a tie break.

The match got interesting after that as the crowd rallied behind the underdog. The 3rd set was a neck and neck fight, but Sousa managed to break the 11th game of the set and took a 6-5 lead. While the final serve had relatively less drama, Sousa wrapped up the match with a 7-5 3rd set win.

Joao Sousa emotional speech after the match

He got emotional about the heroic win and broke down in tears. He thanked the crowd and said, “It feels amazing. The last two years have been really tough as I had a foot injury and my ranking dropped to almost out of the 200, he said. But I have been working hard and today I was able to show my level.” [h/t timesofindia.indiatimes.com]

Sousa will face Finland’s Emil Ruusuvuori on Sunday. The 6th seed player is yet to drop a set in the tournament and will play for his 1st ever ATP title.

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Joao Sousa run in Tata Open 2022

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The Portuguese player, once trained with Rafael Nadal, and seemed well prepared for the tournament. The tournament was stacked up with huge talent with the likes of Aslan Karatsev, Jiri Vesely, and Lorenzo Musseti participating for the title.

He had a bit rocky start to the tournament, against homegrown talent Arjun Kadhe, but overcame the challenge in 3 sets. Next up was 3rd seed Gianluca Mager, who he again made a comeback from 1 set down.

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Watch: VIDEO: Juan Martin Del Potro Breaks Down in Tears as He Announces Retirement From Professional Tennis

The right-handed player got on the right track with a 2 set win in the quarters against 5th seed German Daniel Altmaier. The 32-year-old was all set for the huge task of playing against in-form Swede Elias Ymer, which he conquered in 3 hr 13 mins.

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Kunal Pradeep Chawda

149 articles

Kunal Chawda is a tennis author at EssentiallySports. Holding a bachelors degree in IT engineering and masters in marketing, Kunal is obsessed with tennis, soccer and basketball. He has intensely followed sports since the year 2002 and also competed in his collegiate days.

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