New Straits Times

Agut keeps Pouille out of top 10 with Dubai title


DUBAI: Roberto Bautista Agut doubled his trophy haul for 2018 when he defeated Lucas Pouille 6-3, 6-4 in the Dubai final, preventing the Frenchman from reaching the world top 10 for the first time.

The third-seeded Spaniard, ranked 23rd, now owns eight career titles after starting this season with success in Auckland.

“It’s special to win here, I’ve been working hard,” the champion said.

“I was prepared to manage the emotions. I played very well this week. I’ve started the season very well, my level is increasing.”

Dubai-based Pouille, champion last month in Montpellie­r and finalist last weekend in Marseille, gave all credit to his opponent in the 81-minute final.

“He played some great tennis tonight. Even if I think I had some opportunit­ies — especially in the second set where I got the break for 3-1 up — I couldn’t conserve them,” said the second seed.

The number 15 added: “He was very solid and played some great tennis when he had to.”

Bautista Agut rallied from a break down in the second set to pave the way for his win.

The result prevented number 15 Pouille from moving into the world top 10 for the first time.

Bautista Agut trailed 3-1 in the second set after winning the first, but quickly broke back for 2-3 and squared the set 3-all.

The Spaniard then put Pouille under pressure with three break points and profitted from a break for 5-4 before serving out for the victory a game later on his first match point.

In Acapulco, Juan Martin Del Potro continued his dominance over Kevin Anderson, putting the brakes on the South African's brilliant run of success to claim the ATP Mexican Open title on Saturday.

Del Potro defeated the hardservin­g Anderson 6-4, 6-4 in the final to claim his first title of 2018 and post his seventh-straight career victory over Anderson.

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