Bautista Agut keeps Pouille out of top 10 with Dubai title
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.
"It was tough match. I was not serving well at all. A few easy points with my serve would have been good with my energy. I think that didn't help me."
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.
"It would have been better with a victory, so that's why it's not fantastic." Pouille said. "But it was a good week, a lot of positive things."
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.
© 2018 AFP