Facebook Social Button Twitter Social Button Follow Us on InstagramYouTube Social Button Follow Me on Pinterest
NewsVideosScoresTV ListingsTournamentsRankingsLucky Letcord PodcastMagazine

By Richard Pagliaro | Tuesday, March 26, 2019


Roberto Bautista Agut shocked Novak Djokovic, 1-6, 7-5, 6-3, to reach the Miami Open quarterfinals for the first time.

MIAMI—Roberto Bautista Agut withstood first-set turbulence and a third-set crash to the court before sticking the landing for a second straight upset of world No. 1 Novak Djokovic.

Blown out in the opening set, Bautista Agut battled back to shock the top-seeded Serbian, 1-6, 7-5, 6-3, and advance to the Miami Open quarterfinals for the first time.

More: Coric Tames Kyrgios Chaos

"I played more aggressive," Bautista Agut told the media afterward. "I tried to miss less balls, to be really concentrate on the beginning of the point with my serve, with my return. Well, at the end, it worked well."

Djokovic carried a 22-1 record as the top seed in Miami into this match, but faltered after a rain delay and converted only four of 13 break-point chances. 

A disconsolate Djokovic walked off Hard Rock Stadium court right into his post-match interview and spoke quietly of opportunity lost.

"He's solid player," Djokovic said. "Congratulations to him definitely for a great comeback. But this kind of match I should not have lost.

"So many opportunities. Just way too many wasted opportunities. This is what happens when you don't capitalize on time."

The man who has won an ATP record four Sunshine Doubles—winning Indian Wells and Miami back-to-back—suffered the tennis equivalent of sunburn during this month's coast-to-coast swing.

Djokovic fell in straight sets to 39th-ranked Philipp Kohlschreiber in Indian Wells earlier this month and confronted criticism from rivals Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer over his role in ending Chris Kermode's reign as ATP president. 

The top seed conceded he didn't feel at his physical peak.

"I mean, just had, you know, way too many things off the court," Djokovic said. "I guess that affected me a little bit on the court. I didn't feel my best health-wise, as well, in Indian Wells and here. You know, still rusty, but, hey, look, you learn that's life."

Bautista Agut denied Djokovic his 850th career victory stopping the Serbian for the second straight meeting.

In January, Bautista Agut shocked Djokovic, 3-6, 7-6 (6), 6-4, en route to his ninth career title in Doha.

It is the 30-year-old Spaniard’s third victory over a world No. 1 player in eight attempts with all three wins coming against Djokovic on hard court.

Six-time champion Djokovic, who took the court with a 7-1 record in Miami fourth-rounders, was in total command charging out to a 5-0 lead after 28 minutes.

The Australian Open champion won seven of the first eight games, but lost his range and rhythm while Bautista Agut grew in confidence and began driving the ball deeper as the match progressed.

The 22nd-seeded Spaniard will face reigning champion John Isner for a spot in the semifinals.

Isner opened today’s fourth-round play posting a 7-6 (5), 7-6 (3), victory over British No. 1 Kyle Edmund.

The seventh-seeded Isner has won two of three meetings vs. Bautista Agut—all three matches have gone three sets—though the pair haven’t squared off in three years.

"The key of the match was at the beginning of the second set, no?" Bautista Agut said. "If I wanted to win the match, I had to be very close at the score. Otherwise Novak, when he gets an advantage, he plays really aggressive. As you see, the first set I couldn't play at the same level."

Deadlocked at 5-all in the second set, Bautista Agut made his move.

The slender Spaniard saved a break point winning a 24-shot rally when Djokovic netted a forehand.

Attacking net, Bautista Agut knifed a backhand volley for set point. Djokovic hit a gutsy second serve on the line to erase it but sprayed a forehand wide to face a second set point.

When the top seed netted a forehand, Bautista Agut forced a decider after one hour, 44 minutes.

Showing signs of frustration, Djokovic's mood grew darker when he failed to convert a couple of break points in the third game as Bautista Agut held for 2-1 on a netted drop shot.

Djokovic tripped his fourth double fault off the tape gifting the break and a 3-1 lead.

The depths of the 22nd-seeded Spaniard's desire was clear when he went horizontal hurling his body to the court diving for a full-stretch volley. 

Djokovic won the point and got the break back in the fifth game.

Still, the Spaniard stood toe-to-toe with the top seed from the baseline. Bautista Agut ran down a drop shot for break point then scored the third straight break of the final set for 4-2. 

Serving for his first Miami quarterfinal, Bautista Agut did not blink. He curled a 102 mph serve winner down the T then jammed the Serbian with a body serve drawing an errant backhand to end it. 

Bautista Agut threw a fierce uppercut into the air punctuating a fierce fight-back that improved his record to 14-3.


Latest News