Spain’s Roberto Baustista Agut beat defending champion Nikoloz Basilashvili of Georgia in a gripping Qatar ExxonMobil Open final.

Baustista Agut won 6-3, 6-4 win in 84 minutes of calculative tennis watched by a packed crowd at the iconic Khalifa Tennis and Squash Complex.

It was the fourth win over Basilashvili in career head-to-head meetings and his 11th for the season. By virtue of fighting title win Saturday, Baustista Agut has become only the third player in Qatar to have won two or more titles.
Tennis icon Roger Federer is the only player with three title wins in Qatar (2005, 2006, 2011) while Stefan Edberg of Sweden (1994, 1995), Andy Murray of Great Britain (2008, 2009), and Novak Djokovic (2016, 2017) have won two titles each.

“I'm very happy now,” Baustita Agut said Saturday after exacting revenge on his conqueror during last year’s final.

“It's been a while without lifting a trophy and I've been working very hard to play another final to get the chance to win another title,” he added. “It was a big dream for me when I was young to lift this title here and now I have won two times in Doha.

“This tournament is being very special for me and I cannot be happier than now. It was a really tough final this year. I was lucky I could play the final as it was not easy to recover after a really tough match on Friday. Really tough battle (in the semi-finals), but I think I did a pretty good job today thanks to my team helping me recover as quickly as I could.

“I won another Doha and it's my 10th title with a big title and I am very happy,” he said with a smile.

Basilashvili, who fired 8 aces in the match, was the first one to manage a service break in the match when he broke Bautista Agut in game three of the first set. The 33-year-old Spaniard was wayward with a couple of long returns and an unforced error on his serve allowed Basilashvili jump to a 3-1 lead.

But the gritty 2019 David Cup winner from Spain fought back in game six when a couple of backhand unforced errors along with a double fault slowed down Basilashvili at 3-3. In game eight, Bautista Agut made the most of a deuce situation when a couple of unforced errors from faltering Basilashvili allowed the 2019 Doha champion to surge ahead at 5-3. He quickly closed out the first set at 6-3 by holding serve.

In the second set, Basilashvili broke Bautista Agut in game two to go 2-0 up but it wasn’t long before the eventual champion struck back. Bautista Agut broke Basilashvili in game five and then crucially in game nine when the latter went long on his returns after two unforced errors. With a 5-4 advantage, Bautista Agut saw three unforced errors from Basilashvili give him the set at 6-3 and his second title triumph.

Basilashvili, who looked dejected, was quick to praise the new champion.

“I'm super happy how I played this tournament in general and I love coming back here but I would like to say congrats to Roberto for a greater tournament,” the 29-year-old Georgian said Saturday.

“I say congratulations to your team and his wonderful family. I would like to say thanks to my team as well. They are doing unbelievable job,” the 2021 champion, who beat Fededer here in Doha en route to his title glory, said.

“I am extremely happy and pleased to have them with me. I applaud the tournament organizers and the sponsors for making such a great tournament every year. I hope to come back to next year,” he said.
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