SAO JOSE DO RIO PRIETO, BRAZIL: Competing in his home state of Sao Paulo, Brazil, 24-year-old Nicolas Santos was looking to build on his recent strong performances following impressive displays in Lorena and Americana respectively.
In the two weeks prior to the clay court tournament in Sao Jose do Rio Prieto, Santos was a beaten finalist in Lorena, and, a week earlier, fell at the semifinal stage in Americana.
Unseeded, Santos opened the tournament by shocking number one seed, Argentina’s Maximiliano Estevez; winning comprehensively with the loss of just four games. In the following round, Santos overcame a first set deficit to defeat fellow Brazilian, Tiago Lopes, before conquering another of his countrymen, Thales Turini, by the straight sets scoreline of 63 62.
The victory over Turini meant that Santos had reached his third consecutive ITF Pro Circuit tournament semifinal, all of which within the space of three weeks.
The semifinal would draw Santos alongside the tournament’s fifth seed, Bruno Sant’anna. Both players had secured one win each in head-to-head singles main draw meetings prior to their semifinal match-up, and it was Santos who ultimately prevailed in a tough three sets contest, 75 26 63, to progress to the final.
Highly-rated 18-year-old Thiago Monteiro stood in the way of Santos’ second ITF Pro Circuit singles crown. Sixth seed Monteiro had reached the final on his return to Brazil following a two-month spell playing in Europe.
Santos, who had won one of his previous five ITF Pro Circuit singles finals, produced a unnerving display to defeat youngster Monteiro in straight sets, 62 62, and in-turn claim the second singles title of his career.
The win took Santos’ ranking up 70 places to 591. His only other previous singles win on the ITF Pro Circuit also came in his native Brazil, in a clay court tournament hosted in Brasilia, in April 2011.