VALENCIA, October 31, 2015
The semi-finals of the 13th Valencia Open featured three unseeded players and the tournament’s number seven in the City of Arts and Science on Saturday.
Joao Sousa defeated Vasek Pospisil, winning 6-4, 6-4. The number one Portuguese saved all of the two break points he faced and capitalized on two of his own in the fifth game of the opening set as well as the first game of the second to prevail in one hour and 20 minutes, reaching his fourth final of the season. Sousa finished runner-up in Geneva, Umag and St. Petersburg earlier this year.
“I think I was very solid from the baseline, returning very good. Vasek was not able to make his game and I think that I played a great match and deserved to win today,” Sousa told after claiming his 37th match win of the season. With the exception of the top 10, only five players have won more in 2015.
“This has been my best season so far. I will try to finish it the best way by taking the title here. I have been playing well this week and I will try to give my best tomorrow,” the world number 46 is looking forward to Sunday.
Atmosphere heated up when the last Spaniard in the draw Roberto Bautista-Agut took on Steve Johnson in the final match of the day. The seventh seeded local brought a 3-0 head to head record against the in-form US-American, with both players coming off finals last Sunday in Moscow respectively Vienna. In probably what has been the most exciting match of the week so far, Johnson had the better start but Bautista-Agut gained the break in the eighth game of the second set to take the encounter the distance. The world number 24 from Castellón, saved one match point in the twelfth game of the final set and five in the following tie-break to finally convert his very first own in the decider, winning 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 in two hours and four minutes.
“It was an incredible match, it was really close and tough. Today everything was possible, I could win but also lose. It was a nice fight but now I am really happy to play the final tomorrow. I will just enjoy the moment,” Bautista-Agut was relieved afterwards. “I just tried to put my first serve in and focused on every point in the tie-break. In the end I was the lucky one and winning this match in front of my home crowd was one of the most emotional moments in my career,” the Spaniard told and added: “Playing at home always creates a bit of pressure. You want to do a good job but I also enjoy it very much.”
Fourth seeded pair Feliciano López and Max Mirnyi defeated Julian Knowle and Oliver Marach 6-1, 3-6, 10-6 to take on Eric Butorac and Scott Lipsky in Sunday’s doubles final, who knocked out Chris Guiccione and Andre Sa, winning 7-6, 7-6.