Ivashka Takes First ATP Title, Wins Winston-Salem Open

Ilya Ivashka – photo: Brigitte Urban

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C./WASHINGTON, August 29, 2021 (by Michael Dickens)

In a year of first-time winners on the ATP Tour, Ilya Ivashka became the eighth first-time champion Saturday after winning the ATP 250 Winston-Salem Open. The 27-year-old from Minsk, Belarus, became the first from his country since Max Mirnyi in 2003 to win an ATP Tour-level singles title – and he dominated his opponent, Mikael Ymer of Sweden, from first ball to last ball.

The World No. 63 Ivashka defeated Ymer 6-0, 6-2 in just 55 minutes. He was 14-for-14 on first serve points and lost just two points on his serve overall, winning 18 of 20. Ivashka hit four aces, faced no break points, and outpointed Ymer 58-25. He converted five of eight break points against the 90th-ranked resident of Stockholm.

“This week, I had everything,” Ivashka said during the ceremony on Stadium Court at the Wake Forest Tennis Complex on the campus of Wake Forest University, in which he was presented with a pewter star trophy. “In the second round, I was booking my flights to New York. I was two points away from losing and now I am standing here. It is incredible how things can change in one match.

“It was an unbelievable pleasure to play here. I feel amazing to play in front of such a nice crowd and I really enjoyed it.”

During the run-up to the title, Ivashka dropped just one set and upset World No. 12 and top seed Pablo Carreño Busta in the quarterfinal round. He became the eighth first-time winner on the ATP Tour in 2021 and is the sixth tournament winner to be ranked outside the Top 50 this year.

Meanwhile, the 22-year-old Ymer was appearing in his first tour-level final and was vying to become the first Swedish champion of an ATP Tour event since Robin Soderling won a title a Bastad in 2011.

“I think it was a good week,” Ymer said, quoted by the ATP Tour website. “When the time is right and I have calmed down, there are things to bring with me. I just have to study exactly what these things are to become more consistent for the future. [Ilya] was very stable, he was very focused. He didn’t give me any chances to really come back and he was the better tennis player today.”

Now, Ivashka will head to New York for the US Open after competing in three North American hard-court events – the Citi Open in Washington, where he reached the third round; and the Western & Southern Open, where he lost in qualifying to Winston-Salem semifinalist Carlos Alcaraz, in addition to winning the Winston-Salem Open title. Ivashka will face Tennys Sandgren of the United States in the first round of the US Open, while Ymer will play American wild card Jenson Brooksby. Both Winston-Salem finalists are in the upper half of the US Open men’s draw, so they will be back on court Tuesday.

“I want to thank my team and my wife, she is always there and this one is for you,” Ivashka said during his remarks. “My coach is always there with me and supporting me and we have been together for a long time. So, I thank him for everything. It was a dream week.”