Troicki and Bautista Agut Score Meaningful ATP 250 Titles in Sydney and Auckland
Steen Kirby, Tennis Atlantic
Viktor Troicki returned to the site of his last ATP title and experienced a healthy version of deja vu as he repeated as Champion in Sydney. Troicki got off to an awful start as the underdog against Grigor Dimitrov, but Dimitrov imploded in the match, Troicki winning by a score of 2-6 6-1 7-6(7). Dimitrov was firing on all cylinders in the rallies early on, but practically broke himself early in the second set, losing control in that set, and then failing to finish off the third set tiebreak as Troicki continued to fight hard, saving a match point in the third.
The result for Dimitrov is yet another disappointment from the former top 10 player, he does start the season with a quarterfinal, and a final however. Prior to the final he had wins over Pablo Cuevas, an in-form Alexandr Dolgopolov in three sets, and Gilles Muller in straights.
Troicki not only avenged his defeat the week prior to Dimitrov, he also beat Tommy Robredo, Nicolas Mahut, and Teymuraz Gabashvili, the latter two players taking three sets to dispatch. Gabashvili was playing in his first ever ATP semifinal, after home favorite Bernard Tomic tanked his quarterfinal match and retired due to lack of interest after losing the first set.
Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares defeated Rohan Bopanna and Florin Mergea in the doubles final, a matchup that pitted two of the top teams in the sport.
Roberto Bautista Agut won his third career ATP title, and he was aided by his opponent Jack Sock suffering from the flu. RBA got off to an easy start, and it wasn’t difficult after that, as he won 6-1 1-0 ret. with Sock unable to continue with how poorly he was feeling. The Spaniard starts the season 6-1 with a quarterfinal, and a title, prior to the Australian Open, as his hard court game looks to be in great form.
Sock had a fantastic week regardless, he upset long-time Auckland stalwart David Ferrer in the semifinals, and also recovered from an opening set breadstick to defeat Kevin Anderson in a three set quarterfinal. Prior to that he defeated Victor Estrella and Vasek Pospisil without dropping a set, as it’s clear the American is trying to make his move for the top 15 this season. He could struggle in Melbourne however if he’s still feeling unwell.
Bautista Agut beat Jiri Vesely and Donald Young without incident, and then, like Sock, defeated players ranked above him, as he worked past John Isner in three sets, and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the same fashion. RBA looks to be making his move to return ot the top 20 soon.
Mate Pavic and Kiwi Michael Venus beat Eric Butorac and Scott Lipsky in straight sets to capture the doubles final, giving home fans the excitement of a home player capturing a title.