Valencia final preview and pick: Bautista Agut vs. Sousa

SousaSpain’s own Roberto Bautista Agut will enjoy home-court advantage in Sunday’s Valencia final against Joao Sousa. Bautista Agut saved a whopping six match points in a semifinal win over Steve Johnson.

Taking place simultaneously with the Basel title match between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, it will be final that nobody outside of Spain or Portugal watches when Roberto Bautista Agut goes up against Joao Sousa at the Valencia Open on Sunday afternoon.

Their only previous ATP-level encounter came earlier this season on the clay courts of Umag, where Sousa prevailed 4-6, 6-2, 6-3. The overall head-to-head series, however, is being led 4-1 by Bautista Agut. The Spaniard is 2-0 against Sousa in Challengers and 2-0 on the Futures circuit. Those four meetings came between 2007 and 2012 and two were contested on indoor hard courts.

After beating Bautista Agut in Umag, Sousa lost the final 6-4, 6-1 to Dominic Thiem. Thus continued a disturbing trend for the 46th-ranked Portuguese, who has lost five consecutive title matches since lifting his first and only ATP winner’s trophy two years ago in Kuala Lumpur. Sousa just recently finished runner-up to Milos Raonic in St. Petersburg.

In fine form in just about all other situations, the 26-year-old has taken out Gilles Muller, Benoit Paire, Pablo Cuevas, and Vasek Pospisil–dropping only one set to Paire in the process.

Bautista Agut’s trek has been less straightforward. In addition to straight-set scalps of Andrey Rublev and Mischa Zverev, the seventh seed scraped past Nicolas Almagro in three sets during first-round action and saved six match points to overcome Steve Johnson 4-6, 6-3, 7-6(8) on Saturday. Bautista Agut is 41-27 for the season and in line to get a top 24 seed at the 2016 Australian Open.

With a decent 2-3 lifetime record in ATP finals, Bautista Agut triumphed twice in 2014 and finished runner-up to Marin Cilic indoors in Moscow last week. He should be able to extend Sousa’s title-match woes in this one.

Pick: Bautista Agut in 2

17 Comments on Valencia final preview and pick: Bautista Agut vs. Sousa

  1. RBA might start slow due to last match possible fatigue but his fight and home court advantage combined with Sousa in finals will lead to a three set win for RBA imp.

  2. Dang. Sousa is gonna win. I was gonna pick Sousa in 3 actually but I decided that since I’ve been going against RBA in my picks so much this week it would backfire again. Of course when I decide to pick RBA this happens lol.

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