Ivashka Clinches First Title In Winston-Salem
Ilya Ivashka cruised past Mikael Ymer 6-0, 6-2 Saturday at the Winston-Salem Open to capture his maiden tour-level title and become the first Belarusian to win a trophy at this level since Max Mirnyi in 2003.
The World No. 63, who beat top seed Pablo Carreno Busta en route to the final, dominated from the baseline and was strong on serve, winning 90 per cent (18/20) of points on his first delivery to secure his victory in 56 minutes.
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”This week, I had everything,” Ivashka said during the trophy ceremony. “In the second round, I was booking my flights to New York. I was two points away from losing and now I am standing here. It is incredible how things can change in one match. It was an unbelievable pleasure to play here. I feel amazing to play in front of such a nice crowd and I really enjoyed it.”
Ivashka was competing in his third tournament of the North American hard-court swing, having advanced to the third round in Washington, while being stopped in qualifying in Cincinnati by #NextGenATP Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz.
“I want to thank my team and my wife, she is always there and this one is for you,” Ivashka added. “My coach is always there with me and supporting me and we have been together for a long time so I thank him for everything. It was a dream week.”
2021 First-Time ATP Tour Champions
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The Munich semi-finalist dropped just one set in Winston-Salem to become the eighth first-time winner on the ATP Tour this season and the sixth titlist to be ranked outside the Top 50 this year.
In a fast start, Ivashka broke in the opening game as he controlled the tempo of the match in the first set. The 27-year-old stepped inside the baseline, striking the ball with great depth as he did not lose a point on serve in the set as he forced Ymer into errors. Ivashka sealed the opener with one of the 48 aces he hit throughout the tournament.
Fuelled by momentum, there was no respite for Ymer during the second set as Ivashka continued to dictate, manoeuvering the Swede around the court with his heavy groundstrokes. Ymer finally got on the scoreboard in the ninth game of the match, but was unable to muster a comeback as Ivashka raced to his victory to lead their ATP Head2Head Series 1-0.
Ymer, alongside Ivashka, was competing in his maiden tour-level final Saturday. The 22-year-old was aiming to become the first Swedish champion at this level since Robin Soderling clinched the Bastad title in 2011.
"I think it was a good week. When the time is right and I have calmed down, there are things to bring with me. I just have to study exactly what these things are to become more consistent for the future," Ymer said. "He was very stable, he was very focused. He didn't give me any chances to really come back and he was the better tennis player today."