No Grigor, But You Get Agut for 2016 Sofia Debut
Even more than Bulgarian star Grigor Dimitrov skipping his country’s debut ATP event because he wasn’t offered enough appearance money, the Sofia Open will be remembered for top seed Roberto Bautista Agut etching his name in the history books as the event’s first winner.
The Spaniard in the final of the Garanti Koza Sofia Open topped No. 2 Viktor Troicki 6-3, 6-4. He followed up a win in Auckland for his second title of 2016.
“I have to be happy about this start to the season, the way I play,” he said. “I used drop shots a lot today because he is a great defender and sometimes he stays very far from the baseline. I needed to find a way to break the rhythm and drop shots gave me a lot of points today. To beat Viktor you have to work a lot.”
The 27-year-old Bautista Agut is 12-2 on the year and reached the round of 16 in Melbourne. Troicki fell to 3-6 in career finals.
“He was playing better — more offensive, more aggressive, took more risks,” said Troicki, who won the Sydney title in January. “He also didn’t miss many balls. I felt like the better I played, the better he played. I had a long match yesterday. I needed to be 100 percent fit to win. He started the season very well. He played great the last four tournaments. So I congratulate him. He deserved the win.”
Three’s the Charm for Gasquet in All-French Montpellier Championship
Richard Gasquet came out of the all-French final at the Open Sud de France with his third career tournament title, beating compatriot Paul-Henri Mathieu 7-5, 6-4.
He improved to 13-12 in career ATP finals after a fourth straight final in Montpellier, France.
“I am very proud to win my third title here, because it was a great match against a good friend,” the 29-year-old Gasquet said. “He had nothing to lose, so it was great to win.”
Mathieu ran to a 3-0 lead in the first set and even broke late in the set, but couldn’t close. Gasquet broke early in the second and fought off a late surge by Mathieu to clinch the championship. Mathieu fell to 4-6 in career ATP finals.
Gasquet fortified his Top 10 standing at No. 10 on the ATP Rankings.
Burgos Burgles Quito Dirt Title
Ageless Dominican Victor Estrella Burgos defended his Ecuador Open Quito claycourt title on Sunday, winning his second straight with a 4-6, 7-6(5), 6-3 win over Thomaz Bellucci.
The 35-year-old followed up on his 2015 effort when he became the first Dominican to win an ATP title.
“I can’t describe the feeling when I saw the last ball go out,” he said. “It was an unbelievable moment, to win back-to-back in Quito. Last year I was very nervous. I could barely breathe serving on match point. This year I was much more relaxed closing out the match.”
In the sunny and windy conditions, Estrella Burgos in the third set broke in the first game and rode the lead to victory, his career second title.
“The wind did not allow me to maintain a good level,” said Bellucci, who fell to 4-3 in career finals. “I was dominating and I had options to win the match, but I wasted them. In the third set, I lost my rhythm on serve and he raised his level.”
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