SOFIA, February 7, 2016
Roberto Bautista-Agut is the champion of the inaugural Garanti Koza Sofia Open, winning Sunday’s final over Viktor Troicki 6-3, 6-4.
The tournament’s top-seed was the dominant player at Arena Armeec, gaining his first break in the eighth game of the opening set in one of the best reallies of the encounter. Bautista-Agut served the set out in the following after 33 minutes. The world number 18 from Castellón lost his serve only once, winning 56% of the total points. He gained the decisive break in the fifth game of the second set with an inside out forehand winner. Bautista-Agut prevailed after one hour and 22 minutes to celebrate his second victory of the season after lifting the trophy in Auckland.
Second seed Troicki had to admit the defeat.
“He was playing better than me, more offensive, more aggressive and he took more risk. He didn’t miss many balls. I felt like the better I played, the better he played. I had a long match yesterday and finished pretty late, so I maybe wasn’t at 100 percent and that’s what I had needed today to beat him. I have played great tennis for the last four tournaments and he deserved to win today,” Troicki was a fair loser but could find positives from this week.
“Nonetheless I reached another final, that’s good. It’s a great start of the season and I hope to keep it up for the rest of the season in order to reach the top 10. That’s my goal. I hope to achieve it this year,” the current world number 25 continued. His next tournament will be in Rotterdam, where he will also celebrate his 30th birthday on Wednesday.
“I will probably play my match next on Wednesday, so there will not be much time for celebration. With Kuznetsov I will have a tough opponent again. I will fly tomorrow morning but first I have to get back to Belgrade, as I am here with my car. Nonetheless, I will be ready for the tournament,” Troicki is looking forward.
“Viktor is a great defender, standing far away from the baseline pretty often. So I used my drop shots very well today, which gave me a lot of points. But you have to work a lot to beat him,” Bautista-Agut told about his tactic and is satisfied to gain his second title at this early stage of the season.
“It is always special to win a title and it is great how I started this year. I am very happy about the way I am playing,” the 25-year-old told after claiming his fourth career title.
“I will have my flight to Rotterdam tomorrow at 7am. So there is still a bit time for enjoying a nice dinner with my team tonight. But that’s tennis, you win a tournament and in the next moment you have to think about the coming event with a new surface and new opponents,” Bautista-Agut said, facing Joao Sousa in the opening round in Rotterdam.
Earlier the day, thrid seeds Wesley Koolhof and Matwe Middelkoop captured their maiden ATP World Tour doubles title, winning the final against Philipp Oswald and Adil Shamasdin 5-7, 7-6, 10-6 in one hour and 46 minutes.
“They played pretty well at the beginning as well as in the second set. I was struggling with my service games but out of the blue we broke them in the seventh game of the second set. Then we started to return better, which made the difference in the end,” Koolhof analyzed afterwards. The Dutchmen had to save two match points in order to win the title.
“It is not the best tactic. There were match points but it was not like that we were in danger. We won four super tie-breaks in a row. On this level this is something special and the way to win an ATP event, I guess,” Middelkoop added with a smile.
“We started in January last year to play as a team in Morocco. Of course, our hopes are for the higher tournaments but we have to be realistic. We just came from the Challengers, from the Futures actually. To win the first ATP title is just the first step to a higher level, which also means facing higher ranked players. We need new tactics against top 30 guys, who are different to players ranked between 50 and 60. But we will work hard with our coach to improve,” they said. Koolhof and Middelkoop have already claimed the doubles title at the ATP Challenger in Bangkok earlier this year.
“We want to break inside the top 50, getting a combined ranking under 100. That’s our goal. This week, we had to defend some points with a Challenger victory last year but with this title here we will get closer to the goal,” Middelkoop told and added that they will leave for Memphis on Monday morning.