Bautista Agut Wins Thriller To Set Sousa Clash
Hometown favourite makes second consecutive final
In one of the biggest comebacks of the 2015 season, Roberto Bautista Agut saved six match points to down Steve Johnson 4-6, 6-3, 7-6(8) in just over two hours on Saturday at the Valencia Open. Johnson struck 13 aces to Bautista Agut’s six and claimed the first set, but the No. 7 seed reached his second ATP World Tour final in as many weeks (l. to Cilic in Moscow) by forcing a third-set tie-break and by recovering from a 3/6 deficit in the decider.
With the victory, home hope Bautista Agut improved to 4-0 in the FedEx ATP Head2Head series against Johnson and prevented the American from reaching a second consecutive tour-level final after he finished runner-up last week in Vienna (l. to Ferrer).
In the second semi-final, World No. 46 Joao Sousa's fine run of form continued, powering past Vasek Pospisil 6-4, 6-4 to reach his seventh ATP World Tour final.
The Portuguese is in the midst of his most successful season on the circuit, featuring in four finals, while winning a career-high 37 matches. Sousa will look to claim his second tour-level title and end a five-match skid in finals when he takes on Roberto Bautista Agut on Sunday. He previously hoisted the trophy in Kuala Lumpur in 2013.
Also a finalist on the clay of Geneva and Umag and indoor hard courts of St. Petersburg in 2015, Sousa has not dropped a set in two encounters against Pospisil, having triumphed in their clash at Roland Garros in May. He needed 77 minutes to dispatch the Canadian, benefiting from 18 unforced errors while turning aside both break points faced.
The Spaniard fell to Sousa in the pair’s lone ATP World Tour meeting (Umag 2015), but holds a 4-0 record in ATP Challengers and ITF Futures matches against the Portuguese.