For most of the evening it appeared the veteran lefty was destined to fall short in the Cordoba championship match for the second consecutive year. But the Spaniard battled from a break down in the second set and two breaks down in the decider to triumph after two hours and 41 minutes.
“I’m really happy. Incredible for me to have the fourth title. It was very difficult today,” Ramos-Vinolas said. “I was almost lost, and somehow I came back. I cannot be more happy.”
In last year’s final, Ramos-Vinolas lost in the final against Juan Manuel Cerundolo, who like Tabilo went on a dream run on the Argentine clay. But the 34-year-old did not suffer the same fate twice, winning the final five games of the match from 1/4 down in the third set to triumph. After Tabilo missed a final backhand long, Ramos-Vinolas fell to the court in celebration.
“I don’t know [how I came back] to be honest. I think I played a little bit more aggressive from 1-4 [in the third]. He missed some first serves. He was serving good and I started to return a little bit more aggressively than before,” Ramos-Vinolas said. “When [I came back from] 1-4 to 3-4, I was feeling I had a chance.”
World No. 144 Tabilo, a qualifier, had never reached an ATP Tour quarter-final before this week. The Chilean ATP Cup star blazed through the qualifying and main draws without losing a set until the final. In the semi-finals, he stunned top seed and home favourite Diego Schwartzman in straight sets.
The 24-year-old was in position to close out Ramos-Vinolas, too. But the former World No. 17 was too solid in the crucial moments and forced Tabilo to beat him.
“It was a tough match. Still pretty happy with the whole week. Had a few chances at the end, but fell short. Still a positive match,” Tabilo said. “Obviously there are little details to finish the match, which took over, a little bit of nerves. I’ve just got to learn from these mistakes, get some experience and hopefully next time I can do better.”
Tabilo fought hard until the last point despite losing his double-break advantage in the third set. At 4-4, he earned a break point. Had he converted it, he would have served for the championship.
But Ramos-Vinolas hit a big serve down the ’T’ to get out of trouble and never looked back. The 2017 Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters finalist broke his opponent’s serve seven times in his victory.
The Spaniard has won more matches than any other player in Cordoba Open history with 12 (12-3). He also eliminared Slovakian Andrej Martin, Peruvian Juan Pablo Varillas, fourth seed Lorenzo Sonego and 2019 Cordoba champion Juan Ignacio Londero this week.
“For me it was a very good week here last year and this year also. I’m really happy I made the final last year,” Ramos-Vinolas said. “It’s not revenge for me.”