Roberto Bautista Agut defeats Lucas Pouille to claim Dubai Duty Free Championships crown
Spaniard claims second title of the season; Pouille misses out on top 10 berth for first time in career
By Sky Sports Tennis
Last Updated: 05/03/18 4:20pm
Roberto Bautista Agut defeated in-form Lucas Pouille to secure his maiden ATP 500 Series title at the Dubai Duty Free Championships.
The Spaniard, who came into the meeting with a 2-1 head-to-head record over the Frenchman, secured his second ATP Tour title of the season for his eighth career tournament crown with a 6-3 6-4 victory in one hour and 22 minutes.
Bautista Agut, world No 23, began his season by winning the ASB Classic and finished an impressive week - which had seen him drop only one set en route to the final - with another accomplished display to deny Pouille entry into the world's top 10 for the first time in his career.
"I was a bit nervous to close out the match. I have been working a lot this month and I was prepared to manage all the emotions and I did very well in the last game," said Bautista Agut.
"This tournament is very special. It is for sure going to be [always] in my heart and I am so happy I have won a 500 event.
"Lucas is a really great player, he has a great future and is playing unbelievable tennis in the last month. I want to wish him good luck for the rest of the season."
Pouille, the second seed, came into the encounter on the back of a runner-up finish in Marseille last week and a title in Montpellier on home soil last month, but it was Bautista Agut, who took the early initiative when he converted his fourth break point in the third game of the match.
The 29-year-old third seed, who is set to rise to world No 16 when the rankings are updated on Monday, maintained his control on proceedings and fought off a solitary break point to secure the first set in 34 minutes.
Pouille eventually secured his first break of the final on his fourth break point of the third game to move 3-1 ahead but was unable to build on the momentum, as he was broken back immediately by the determined Spaniard.
Bautista Agut secured a decisive third break of the match in the ninth game of the second set before he made no mistake on serve to close out the match.
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