Bautista Agut Wins Inaugural Sofia Title

Spaniard claims fourth ATP World Tour title

Roberto Bautista Agut continued his ruthless run of form in Sunday's Garanti Koza Sofia Open final, turning aside Viktor Troicki 6-3, 6-4.

It was another dominant showing from the Spaniard, who did not relinquish a set in three matches en route to his fourth tour-level title. A battle between the two ATP World Tour winners from the second week of the 2016 season, with Bautista Agut having prevailed in Auckland and Troicki in Sydney, the top seed needed 82 minutes to lift the trophy.

"It is always special to win a title," Bautista Agut said. "I have to be happy about this start to the season, the way I play. I am enjoying to be on the court. I just can’t be happier.

“I used drop shots a lot today because he is a great defender and sometimes he stays very far from the baseline. I needed to find a way to break the rhythm and drop shots gave me a lot of points today. To beat Viktor you have to work a lot. He is a very tough opponent. He runs a lot, he makes you play a lot of balls, he defends really well. We played a lot of rallies today and I like that as a Spanish player."

Bautista Agut secured the lone break of the first set in the eighth game, claiming a total 20 of 25 (80 per cent) service points in the opener. In the second, he looked to run away with the match after grabbing an immediate break, but Troicki answered in kind with a break back. The Serb could not hold off Bautista Agut for long, however, as the eventual champ converted another break for 2-1 and held his nerve to the finish line. He triumphed on his second match point as a Troicki return sailed wide.

The 27-year-old Castellon de la Plana native is in the midst of his best start to an ATP World Tour season, posting a 12-2 record and notching two titles. He entered Sofia on the heels of a run to the Round of 16 at the Australian Open, equaling his best Grand Slam result. He takes home €82,450 in prize money and 250 Emirates ATP Rankings points.

Troicki, meanwhile, was bidding to claim his fourth title in his ninth final. The Sydney champion (d. Dimitrov) is also off to a career-best start with a 10-3 mark. He earns €43,430 and 150 Emirates ATP Rankings points for his run to the final.

"He was playing better – more offensive, more aggressive, took more risks," said Troicki. "He also didn’t’ miss many balls. I felt like the better I played, the better he played. I had a long match yesterday. I needed to be 100 per cent fit to win. He started the season very well. He played great the last four tournaments. So I congratulate him. He deserved the win.

"It was still a good week for me. I reached the final again in four weeks. It is a great start to the season. I hope to keep it up with the good results. That is the only way to make it to the Top 10 which is my goal. I have to achieve it this year." 

Both players will travel to Rotterdam for next week's ATP World Tour 500 event. Bautista Agut opens against Joao Sousa, while Troicki faces qualifier Andrey Kuznetsov. A potential rematch is in the cards in the semi-finals.