World Number one Novak Djokovic played a three-set rollercoaster match against the Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut at Cincinnati Open. Djokovic defeated Bautista Agut 6-4, 4-6, 7-6 (0)in semifinals of Cincy. With this victory, Novak is on a 22-match winning streak in the tennis season 2020.
On Friday, it was not a cakewalk for Djokovic to prevail over the Spaniard Bautista Agut. Novak had to take that extra mile to reserve a spot in the finals of the American Masters 1000 event. The two warriors of ATP battled for more than three hours at the Flushing Meadows stadium.
Also, in the midst of the battle Novak took medical timeouts to treat his neck that has been causing trouble at the Cincinnati event. Also, he had stomach issues. Both the parameters, his fitness, and Roberto’s intensity made his road to the Cincinnati finals arduous.
In the opening set, the Serb began with a clean service game, and soon after the duo traded breaks. World Number 12 Bautista continued to play his game by minimizing his unforced errors and forced Novak to hit that extra ball. By doing so, the Serb ace was struggling to edge past the Spanish player despite perfectly defending the balls.
Bautista led by a break at 4-3 and later consolidated his serve for a 5-3 in the opener.
The Spaniard did not take much time and took away the set from Djokovic at 6-4.
Once again both men made a convincing start in the set. At 1-1 the Serb slammed a phenomenal forehand winner to close a 23-shot rally and later held his serve at 2-1. After holding his serve, Novak was forced to take a medical timeout, and the physiotherapist was working on his neck. The neck pain has been bothering him for a few days now. Also, after dropping the first set Djokovic had taken some medication.
In the next game on Bautista’s serve, Djokovic made a sluggish start, but with the Spaniard making some errors and Novak playing some attacking tennis, he converted the second break point with a textbook forehand winner for a 3-1 lead in the second set.
Novak Djokovic was recharged after his medical timeout and comfortably led by 4-1 in the set. He was all-prepared to lead by a double break and held a couple of chances, however by counterpunching the balls, Bautista held his serve at 4-2.
The next game witnessed a turnaround, with Bautista making Novak run back and forth, with his excellent net game and soft touches, he was back on serve at 4-3. Upon losing his serve, Novak tumbled down the tennis court and simultaneously gave a thumb’s up to Bautista’s intensity.
With Bautista making silly errors, Novak earned three set points and later held the set at 6-4 as the Spaniard hit a wide forehand.
The men were on board with their usual tennis. But on Novak’s serve on 1-1 after more than eight minutes of brutal tennis, Bautista broke the Serb’s serve and led by 2-1 in the deciding set. Novak was not ready to give up, despite having issues with his neck, he continued to play warrior-like tennis and avenged his break back at 2-2. Further, Novak broke Bautista’s serve for a 4-2 lead and continued to keep it up at 5-2.
Soon after, while serving for the match at 5-3, Bautista’s intensity broke Novak’s serve to love at 5-4. And the action in New York continued as Bautista made a phenomenal comeback, by breaking Novak’s serve for a 6-5 lead and advanced to serve for a place in the final.
However, the rollercoaster ride continued at Cincy and the thrilling episode of tennis was driven into a tiebreak. And in the breaker, it was one-way traffic on Novak’s road as he clinched it 7-0.
Prior to their battle in New York, Bautista Agut was on a three-match winning streak on hard-courts against 17-time Grand Slam champion Djokovic.