Belarusian Ilya Ivashka defeated Mikael Ymer from Sweden, 6-0 6-2, to lift the Winston-Salem Open trophy, his first ATP Tour title, after a one-sided final on Saturday.
This week I had everything. In second round I was two points away from losing and now I am standing here. It is incredible how things can change in one match, and in one week. Ilya Ivashka
In so doing, the 27-year old became the first player from Belarus to win an ATP Tour singles title in 18 years, since Max Mirnyi at Rotterdam in 2003.
Ranked 63rd in the world, Ivashka is the lowest-ranked champion in the event’s 10-year history, and the 6th player this season ranked outside the top 50 to win an ATP Tour title.
Ivashka lost only 1 set in 6 tournament matches, and beat top-seeded Spaniard, Pablo Carreno Busto, in the quarter-finals.
He held serve throughout the final, dropping just 2 points on his delivery, while breaking the 22-year old Swede, ranked 90, 3 times in a lopsided match that lasted just 55 minutes, the shortest final of the season.
The previous shortest final was Stefanos Tsitsipas’ 6-3 6-3 win over Cameron Norrie in Lyon in May, which lasted 69 minutes.
“It was a dream week. An amazing tournament,” said Ivashka. “I was waiting for this for so long.”
Ivashka blasted 4 aces and was a perfect 18 of 18 on first-serve points in the final men’s tune-up ahead of the US Open that starts on Monday in New York.
He clinched it on his 2nd championship point when the Swede pushed a forehand into the net at the Wake Forest University tennis facility in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
“This week I had everything,” Ivashka said. “In second round I was two points away from losing and now I am standing here.
“It is incredible how things can change in one match, and in one week.”
Ymer, the first Swede to reach an ATP Tour singles final since 2011, looked out of sorts as the wheels fell off his game less than 24 hours after delivering a thrilling come-back victory over the highly-rated 18-year-old Spaniard, Carlos Alcaraz, in the semis.
The Swede did not get onto the scoreboard until the 3rd game of the 2nd set before dropping 3 straight to go down 5-2 and seal his fate, committing 37 unforced errors and 3 double-faults in the process.
“I am disappointed,” said Ymer. “You support me like I am an American almost.
“I know you paid good bucks. I am sorry I couldn’t perform better.”
In fact, Ivashka completely dominated the first set, winning it in just 21 minutes, and served brilliantly throughout, backing that up with an aggressive back court game, simply leaving the Swede in his wake.