Second seed Janko Tipsarevic won his fourth career ATP tour title with a hard-fought three-set win over unheralded Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut in the final of the Aircel Chennai Open tennis tournament here Sunday.
Tipsarevic, the 28-year old World No.9 from Serbia, playing in his 11th ATP Tour final, dropped the first set, but, as in his previous match, came back strongly to record a 3-6, 6-1, 6-3 win against Agut, who is ranked 80.
The defeat notwithstanding, the 28-year-old Agut displayed a big heart and tremendous fitness as he marked his debut in this tournament by ousting top seed and World No.6 Tomas Berdych and fifth seed Benoit Paire, both in three sets.
Tipsarevic, also known as ‘Tipsy’, did well to shrug off a typically slow start and then getting into his stride, but had to fight for every point by Agut, winner of three Challenger titles in 2012 when he broke into top-100.
There was little to separate the two in terms of quality and statistics. The major difference was the unforced errors that read 34 for Agut and 30 for Tipsarevic. The Spaniard had 34 winners to the Serb’s 20.
Agut, playing in his first ATP tour final, was up and flying early with a break of serve in the second game and went on to win the first set before Tipsarevic, in his second consecutive final here, began his fightback.
The Serb won five games in a row to take the second set with ease after twice breaking the Spaniard in the second and fourth.
The set was briefly held up as Agut, playing his third consecutive three-set match, took a three-minute medical time out when trailing 0-5, but did not allow it to cramp his movements.
In the third, Tipsarevic came up with a decisive break of serve in the third game for a 2-1 lead, requiring the Serb to merely hold his serve which he did while breaking Agut again in the ninth that saw the Spaniard committing a double-fault at 30-40.
Tipsarevic took the match on the first championship point to win a tournament where he had been among the most consistent with four consecutive appearances in semi-finals and two in final, including last year.
The win was worth $69,500 in prize money and 250 ATP ranking points while for Agut, the trip to Chennai won him $36,650, his biggest pay cheque and 150 points.
A relieved Tipsarevic said he was happy to finally win a tournament on his sixth visit. “Yes, finally I won here where I have always played some of my best tennis,” said the Serb after the match.
“Last year, I could smell the trophy,” said Tipsarevic, referring to his defeat to Canadian Milos Raonic. “Tonight, it was similar to my semi-final match. Agut played better and was more dominant in the first set. In the second, I took an early lead and from there went step by step.”
The result (prefix indicates seeding):
Singles (final): 2-Janko Tipsarevic (SRB) bt Roberto Bautista Agut (ESP) 3-6, 6-1, 6-3.