DUBAI, March 3, 2018
Roberto Bautista Agut captures his eighth ATP World Tour title and his first 500-level triumph by winning the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships on Saturday evening. The World No. 23 from Spain defeated No. 2 seed Lucas Pouille of France 6-3, 6-4.
Bautista Agut saved three of the four break points he faced, converting three of his own to seal victory in one hour and 21 minutes. The 29-year-old Spaniard becomes the first player outside the Top 10 in the ATP Rankings to triumph in Dubai since Fabrice Santoro in 2002.
“I played very good, very aggressively. I didn’t give him all the court, all the control of the game. I played very good tennis tonight,” Bautista Agut said.
“That means a lot, to win this trophy… I think the past winners [in Dubai] are the best tennis players in the era. That makes me so happy.”
Lucas Pouille, who falls short in his third final of the season (1-2), is projected to climb to a career-best No. 12 in the ATP Rankings on Monday.
“I think he played some great tennis tonight. Even if I think I had some opportunities, especially in the second set where I got the break, 3-1 up, I couldn’t conserve it,” Pouille told.
Rojer/Tecau Retain Title
Jean-Julien Rojer and Horia Tecau retain their title, becoming the first pair in the event’s history (since 1993) to do so. The tandem edged past Jamie Cerretani from the United States and Indian veteran Leander Paes 6-2, 7-6. The final lasted one hour and 25 minutes.
The 2015 Nitto ATP Finals champions now hold 17 tour-level titles as a pair. Rojer owns 26 individually, and Tecau has 34.
“It’s really nice to start off the year like this. I know we did almost the same exact result last year. More importantly, like Horia said, [we] try to get better each match, get good preparation, try to improve as a team. I think that’s still what we both try to do,” told Rojer.
“This tournament always has a strong doubles field. Winning here two years in a row, it’s a great accomplishment for us. Always have to beat some big servers on these fast conditions. That’s very good for [the] confidence to win here twice,” Tecau added.