Nicolas Almagro will face young Spanish compatriot Pablo Carreno Busta in Sunday’s final at the Estoril Open after stunning second seed Nick Kyrgios 6-3 7-5 in an upset semi-final win on Saturday.
The Australian had come to the court after a solid week on the Portuguese clay, but he will not have the chance to play a second straight final at the event after losing in 73 minutes to his experienced 30-year-old opponent.
A year ago, the 21-year-old Kyrgios was beaten in the title match by Richard Gasquet.
Carreno Busta booked a spot in his second career final 6-3 6-3 over Frenchman Benoit Paire.
Kyrgios, who earned his first ATP trophy two months ago in Marseille, said he was beaten on the day by a sharper Almagro.
“It was tough conditions, he played better and I didn’t serve great.
“But this was only my first week on clay,” he said.
“I played two solid matches, so it’s not too bad.”
Kyrgios, who beat Roger Federer in Madrid a year ago in the second round, added: “I fly to Madrid now (for the Masters 1000). But I’m not expecting too much.
“I’ll probably be back next years this is one of my favourite clay events.”
The 50th-ranked Carreno Busta, still seeking the first trophy of his career, had multiple opportunities in his victory as Paire lost serve seven times.
It was only slightly better for the winner, with Carreno Busta dropping his own serve four times including while serving for the match.
He got the break back a game later to end with the win after an hour and a quarter.
“Conditions were very tough with the wind,” Carreno Busta said.
“I was not able to show my best tennis. But it was still very important to get this win and reach another final.”
Carreno Busta was involved in his second semi-final of 2016 after losing a title bid last February in Brazil against Pablo Cuevas of Uruguay. The Spaniard stands 15-11 for the year after defeating Paire for the second time since 2014.
“I’m extremely content with the result. I’m hoping to be able to win my first title tomorrow. I’ll give all in the final,” he said.
“The experience of playing the Sao Paolo final will certainly help me.” Paire was looking for his first place in a final in half a year since Tokyo in the autumn.