WINSTON-SALEM, August 27, 2016
There will be an all-Spanish-final at the Winston-Salem Open on Saturday. Second seed Roberto Bautista-Agut won a roller-coaster match on Friday to move into his first title match on US-American soil.
The world number 17 from Castellón beat Viktor Troicki in a rematch of the Sofia Open final in February 7-5, 6-7, 6-2. Bautista-Agut was only one game away from victory in the second set, leading 5-0 but eventually was forced to go the distance. In the final set, the Spaniard remained calm and rediscovered his rhythm.
“I was a bit tight when trying to close out the match. It’s a normal thing, though. Everyone is a bit nervous when trying to win the match,” Bautista Agut said. “I was very disappointed to lose the second set after leading 5-0. But the good thing is that I was able to recover and set aside the bad feelings in the third set. I work hard on the mental side of my game and I think it is one of my strengths.
“The conditions were quite difficult as well. It was maybe one of the hottest days I’ve played a match on this year. We were both tired, something we often need to overcome in a three-set match.”
“I’ve already played four great matches, so I am happy to be in another final. Happy as well that I took a wild card,” said Bautista Agut, who was a late addition to the tournament.
He will take on Pablo Carreno-Busta for the title. The 16th seed ended the winning streak of John Millman, who appeared in his maiden semi-final on the ATP World Tour. The 25-year-old from Gijon, who has yet to drop a set this week, broke the Aussie’s serve four times to seal a 6-4, 7-6 victory in one hour and 45 minutes.
“It was a tough match. I started well with a break of serve and served out the first set,” Carreno Busta said. “In the second set, I made a few mistakes with my forehand and Millman started to play better. The key for me was to keep fighting all the time. I was down 5-3 but then was able to come back and win in the tie-break.”
Carreno-Busta will play his third final of 2016, having lost to Pablo Cuevas in Sao Paulo and to Nicolas Almagro in Estoril. Bautista-Agut leads 3-1 in head to head records and also won the last meeting between the two at the 2015 US-Open in five sets.