Spaniard clinches 10th tour-level trophy
Roberto Bautista Agut ended his dominant week in style on Saturday, downing Nikoloz Basilashvili 6-3, 6-4 in the Qatar ExxonMobil Open final to win his first ATP Tour title since 2019.
In a repeat of last year’s championship match in Doha, a pumped-up Bautista Agut played consistently and aggressively from the baseline to gain revenge over the Georgian, who triumphed in the final in 2021.
“I am very happy,” Bautista Agut said. “It has been a while since I lifted a trophy. I have been working very hard to reach another final and to get the chance to win another title. It was a big dream for me to win a title and I have now won twice in Doha. It is very special for me and I am very happy.”
The Spaniard fired his groundstrokes through the court and rallied from a break down in the first and second sets to seal his victory after 86 minutes. It is the second time Bautista Agut has lifted the trophy at the ATP 250 event, having clinched the crown in 2019.
The World No. 16, who dropped just one set en route to the title, has now won 10 tour-level crowns, holding a 10-9 record in championship matches. Doha is the second ATP Tour tournament where the 33-year-old holds multiple titles, after lifting the trophy in Auckland in 2016 and 2018.
“It was a really tough final,” Bautista Agut added. “This year we played without wind, which was much better for me. It was not easy to recover after a really tough battle yesterday, but I think I did a good job today. It is my 10th ATP Tour title and I am very happy.”
With his victory, Bautista Agut now leads Basilashvili 4-2 in their ATP Head2Head series and has improved to 11-3 on the season.
In a lively start, Basilashvili raced ahead as he overpowered Bautista Agut with his flat groundstrokes under the lights in Doha. However, the Spaniard then started to find his rhythm, hitting with greater depth to break back before he improved on serve. The 33-year-old then broke again, before he reeled off his fifth game in a row, sealing the set when Basilashvili hit a return long.
The second set followed a similar pattern to the first set, with Basilashvili breaking to lead, before Bautista Agut rallied to level at 3-3. Fuelled with belief, the second seed continued to hit with too much consistency for the Georgian, who struggled to deal with Bautista Agut's variety. After breaking for a 5-4 lead, the Spaniard held his nerve on serve to clinch the title.
The 2021 Doha champion Basilashvili was aiming to win his sixth tour-level title. This week, the third seed defeated Mikael Ymer, Marton Fucsovics and Arthur Rinderknech as he regained his top form to reach the final.
"I am super happy with how I played in this tournament," Basilashvili said during the trophy ceremony. "I love coming back here. I would like to congratulate Roberto for a great tournament. I would like to thank the crowd. I am super proud to play in front of you."