VALENCIA, November 1, 2015
Joao Sousa is the champion of the 13th edition of the Valencia Open. The unseeded Portuguese defeated the tournament’s number seven Roberto Bautista-Agut, winning 3-6, 6-3, 6-4.
The Spaniard, who appeared in his first Valencia final, had the better start into the final when he gained the break in the eighth game of the opening set to clinch the frame in the following after 36 minutes. Bautista-Agut also capitalized on his next break point chance in the first game of the second set but Sousa evened score in the sixth game and eventually took the match the distance after one hour and 23 minutes by winning seven games in a row. The 27-year-old from Castellón, who reached the final in Moscow seemed to be tired in the end, received some treatment at his right heel during changeover and Sousa finally served the match out to claim his second career title after two hours and six minutes.
“I finished the last matches really late. Of course, this does affect your physical condition. I also played the final last Sunday. In the last set I was dead,” Bautista-Agut told afterwards. “Of course I am disappointed, as I had the advantage in the second set. In the final set I didn’t have enough power to stay competitive at this level. I played a lot of tournaments this year, maybe three or four more than I actually wanted to play,” the world number 24 said and is going to compete in his last tournament of the year in Paris next week.
Sousa was happy coming back from a set and a break down. “Roberto was playing very solid from the baseline and I did a lot of mistakes in the beginning. When I was 1-3 down in the second set, I decided to change a bit tactically. I was trying to play more solid, more consisistent from the baseline. In the third set, I think that Roberto was pretty tired from the week and the pressure here at home. I was able to gain the victory in the end,” Sousa analyzed the match and was very pleased to finally capture a title again, after losing five finals in a row. “I was mentally prepared to give eveything I have,” he added.
Sousa is reaching a new career high on 34th position on Monday. “Of course I like to beat my records but mostly it’s about the title. I am really happy,” Sousa explained and was surprised to lift the trophy in front of his family, who came all the way from Portugal by car to attend the final. “I didn’t expect them to show up, this was very special.”
Earlier the day, Eric Butorac and Scott Lipsky clinched their second team title, after they had lifted the trophy together in Estoril 2009, winning the final against Feliciano López and Max Mirnyi 7-6, 6-3 in one hour and 15 mintues.
“They are a tough team serving big and playing aggressive tennis. So, we had to absorb the powerful serves and being very good on our own service games. We served very well, saved the only two break points we faced and played a really good tie-break in the first set. It was a great week all around,” Butorac told about the key to success. The all-US-American combination hasn’t dropped a set en route to win the title.
“It was a great way for me to end the year, gaining the victory and the title. I couldn’t be happier to end the season,” Lipsky told afterwards. “Celebration will be very fast, as we have a seven o’clock flight to Paris. So we maybe will have a glass of champagne or a beer at the airport,” added Butorac, who is going to team up with John Isner at the ATP Masters 1000 in Paris Bercy. “We are playing good tennis together, maybe having a few slight adjustments and then we can be one of the best teams next year,” the tandem is looking forward to 2016.
The organizers of the tournament also stated that this has been the last edition of the Valencia Open. “We have been working hard the last years and tried everything but we are very disappointed to announce that this was the last one,” tournament director Juan-Carlos Ferrero told. The organizers and the Valencian Government couldn’t reach an agreement for a funding for the next year and payments still have to be made for the 2014 and 2015 edition. “We feel anger with the institutions: In 2014 we made an agreement with the previous government and it wasn’t done and with the new goverment we feel deeply deceived. It is a sponsorship with benefits for the ‘Generalitat’. This tournament was a present for the people in Valencia, but we have to let it go. I am so sad because it was me, who bought this tournament as an idea for the future. Now we are going to look for new cities and opportunities. Today, we cannot announce anything certain but the solution will follow soon,” Ferrero, who is the tournament’s licence holder for another year, clarified on Sunday evening.