>> Sunday, April 29, 2012
The 2012 Estoril Open in Lisbon, Portugal is held in an exclusive resort beach town known to attract the rich and famous. Estoril lies less than 20 miles west of Portugal's capital, Lisbon, and it is widely known for its large casino, which was the inspiration for the first of Ian Fleming's James Bond books, "Casino Royale". Estoril Open 2012 live tennis action will be broadcast live through the RTP network. A comprehensive broadcast schedule is available here. The Estoril Open is one of three joint ATP-WTA European spring clay court stops on the calendar, along with Rome and Roland Garros.
Estoril Open 2012 - ATP Preview: World No. 10 Juan Martin del Potro triumphed on his second visit to Estoril last year, defeating Fernando Verdasco in the final. Del Potro is back in the 2012 draw as defending champion and top seed. The Argentine is set to play his ATP World Tour clay-court tournament of the season and is chasing his second title of 2012 after victory at the Open 13 in Marseille. Also in the draw is world No. 18 and former top 10 player Richard Gasquet. Gasquet returns to Estoril for the first time since 2007, when he finished runner-up to Novak Djokovic in the final. The Frenchman is chasing his first title in nearly two years.
Portuguese No. 1 Frederico Gil is set to make his seventh appearance in Estoril. The Lisbon native and hometown favorite reached the final in 2010, finishing runner-up to Albert Montanes, and has a 10-6 event record. Also expected to contend is world No. 22 Stanislas Wawrinka. Wawrinka, a former top 10 player, is bidding for his first ATP World Tour title in more than a year as he makes his debut in Estoril. The Swiss has already reached two clay-court semi-finals this season. Four ATP World Tour Champions who have titled in Estoril are Thomas Muster, Carlos Moya, Juan Carlos Ferrero and Roger Federer.
Estoril Open 2012 - WTA Preview: Last year, Anabel Medina Garrigues did not drop a set en route to becoming Spain's first Estoril Open champion since Magui Serna in 2003. In so doing, she tied Venus Williams for most clay court titles among active players. Medina Garrigues eventually surpassed Williams with her 10th career clay court title in Palermo last July. Seeded third this year, she is coming off her best showing of the season - a quarterfinal appearance last week in Fès. The top seed is Roberta Vinci, who has won four of her six career titles on clay.
Among those who have graced the red clay at Estádio Nacional are Grand Slam champs Victoria Azarenka, Justine Henin, Petra Kvitova, Iva Majoli, Li Na and Francesca Schiavone. The only player with multiple Estoril Open titles is Magui Serna, who was victorious in 2002 and 2003. In 2006, the event showcased the first all-Chinese final in WTA history, between Li and Zheng Jie. Other past champions in the draw are second-seeded Maria Kirilenko and fifth-seeded Zheng Jie. Kirilenko is looking for her first title since the year she won Estoril - 2008. Zheng, who was part of the first all-Chinese final in WTA history when she beat Li Na in the 2006 Estoril final, has a tough opener against 2009 Estoril runner-up Ekaterina Makarova.
Follow live tennis action in Portugal's 2012 Estoril Open through the RTP network.