Bautista Agut bounces back in Dubai to end losing streak

Bautista Agut (above, in a file photo) beat Florian Mayer 6-3, 6-4.
Bautista Agut (above, in a file photo) beat Florian Mayer 6-3, 6-4.PHOTO: AFP

DUBAI (AFP) - Third-seeded Roberto Bautista Agut joined number six seed Philipp Kohlschreiber in the second round of the Dubai Championships on Monday (Feb 26) with a 6-3, 6-4 defeat of Florian Mayer.

The Spaniard stands behind top seed Grigor Dimitrov and French second seed Lucas Pouille at the Aviation Club at an event which lost Roger Federer at the last minute.

Bautista Agut's win in 76 minutes ended a three-match losing streak which came after he won the Auckland title in January.

He will next face either Pierre Hugues Herbert of France or Portugal's Joao Sousa.

"I felt great on the court," said Bautista Agut, who broke his opponent five times. "He was mixing up all his game, and playing very aggressive on the return.

"I think I did a great job. Here the ball flies after a deep return, it wasn't easy to hold.

"It's a tough switch from indoors to outdoors. It was good for me to have three days of practise before this match."

Germany's Kohlschreiber, unable to defeat Andy Murray a year ago despite holding seven match points, advanced over French qualifier Gleb Sakharov 6-4, 6-2.

"Everyone seemed to be reminding me of that loss," Kohlschreiber said.

"Losses are tough, they never feel good.

"It was a very entertaining match, with good atmosphere - one of the best I've ever experienced.

"I'm happy with my performance today, I raised my game at the important moments," the 2014 semi-finalist here said.

"In the first match, you always adjust a little bit. But I felt comfortable in my game, very solid, moved my opponent well and served well.

"Overall I think it was a good match."

The 33rd-ranked Kohlschreiber will next play Greek young gun Stefanos Tsitsipas, a winner over Kazakh Mikhail Kukushkin 6-2, 6-7 (5/7), 6-3 in a struggle which took almost two and a quarter hours.