The Sports Xchange
WINSTON-SALEM — Roberto Bautista Agut won his second ATP World Tour title of the year and his sixth overall with a 6-4, 6-4 victory over Damir Dzumhur in the final of the Winston-Salem Open on Saturday in Winston-Salem.
After reaching the final in the event last year, Bautista Agut changed his fortunes against Dzumhur, a first-time finalist in an ATP World Tour tournament. Dzumhur is also the first player from Boznia-Herzogovina to play in a final.
Bautista Agut, ranked No. 15 in the world, matched a career best with a second tournament title in one season. His other championship this year came at the Chennai Open in January in India.
Last year, Bautista Agut was beaten by Pablo Carreno Busta of Spain in the Winston-Salem final.
“I wanted to make the final and get the title, so it’s been a fantastic week for me,” Bautista Agut said. “It’s been a great year for me. I feel good playing here on this court. It’s a great tournament and great preparation for the U.S. Open.”
In the final tuneup before the U.S. Open that starts Monday, Bautista Agut established a 4-1 lead in the first set before Dzumhur fought back. But Bautista Agut recovered to break Dzumhur’s serve to close out the opening set.
Bautista Agut jumped out to a 3-1 lead in the second set before Dzumhur pulled even at 3-3.
The Spaniard went back in front 5-3 and dropped the next game before rebounding to put Dzumhur away and close out the set. Dzumhur, who played 11 matches in the past 12 days, sent a forehand return long on Bautista Agut’s first match point.
“After he broke back in both sets I needed to manage the nerves, stay calm and be focused,” Bautista Agut said. “I was a bit nervous after losing my serve, but I managed it well.”
Bautista Agut was the first player in the seven-year history of the tournament who did not drop a set all week in any of his six matches on the way to the title.
“I’m so happy; It’s been a great week. I didn’t drop a set and I played very good tennis,” Bautista Agut said. “It was a tough final. He’s playing very smart, he changes the rhythm and plays very tricky. I was very focused and very solid.”
Dzumhur was pleased after a career-best finish on the major tour.
“I fell behind 0-3 in both sets and it’s not easy to win sets from there, especially against a player like Roberto, who didn’t drop a set all week,” Dzumhur said. “He played the big points so well, especially at 4-all in both sets. I made some good points, but he hit some great passing shots.
“He was a little better today. My legs were giving up in a few points, but I was trying to fight till the end.”