Novak Djokovic must get past the dogged Roberto Bautista Agut to reach a seventh Cincinnati Masters 1000 Series final in…
Novak Djokovic must get past the dogged Roberto Bautista Agut to reach a seventh Cincinnati Masters 1000 Series final in New York.
Novak Djokovic vs Roberto Bautista Agut | ATP Cincinnati-New York Masters | 28/8/2020Bautista Agut +4.5 games 21/20 Bet Now! New Customers only. 18+. T&C’s Apply. begambleaware.org.
Djokovic vs Bautista Agut is live from New York on Friday 28 August, time TBC
Yet to drop a set at the Western & Southern Open and with a perfect 21-0 record in 2020, Djokovic plays his eighth semifinal at the relocated Cincinnati Masters against Bautista Agut on Friday after matches were ‘paused’ at the New York tournament on Thursday.
Djokovic has a 6-1 record in semifinals at the Western & Southern Open, with his first defeat coming to Daniil Medvedev last year. Bautista Agut eliminated Medvedev with a comeback win on Wednesday – can he get his fourth win over Djokovic?
Read on for our preview, predictions and live streaming information.
How to watch Djokovic vs Bautista Agut live
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Djokovic vs Bautista Agut: Head-to-head
Djokovic leads the head-to-head with Bautista Agut 8-3, winning their first five matches before the most recent six were split evenly. Djokovic won their most recent encounter, in the Wimbledon semifinals in July 2019 in four sets.
On hard courts, however, the head-to-head is 3-3 and Bautista Agut has won the last three matches they have played on that surface. Djokovic has not beaten Bautista Agut on hard courts since the 2015 US Open.
Djokovic vs Bautista Agut: Preview
Djokovic aims to avoid a repeat of last year’s Western & Southern Open semifinal defeat on Friday. It would have been a straight rematch of last year’s semifinal, had Bautista Agut not pulled off an impressive comeback victory over defending champion Medvedev; the Spaniard lost the first set 1-6 in 29 minutes, and was down 0-40 as he served to open the second set.
A change in tactics for Bautista Agut, who began to attack the net wherever possible instead of trading from the baseline against the junkballing Medvedev, saw him stave off disaster and break to lead 3-1. The Russian then won three games in a row to lead 4-3 and looked to have the match in the bag, but Bautista Agut played some formidable attacking forehands – the biggest improvement in his game over the past two years – to string together a mini-run of games of his own and take the second set. With Medvedev failing to adapt to the changed dynamic of the match, Bautista Agut was able to maintain a razor-thin edge throughout the third set and eventually closed out a 1-6, 6-4, 6-3 victory in two hours and 15 minutes.
Djokovic meanwhile took just 64 minutes to dismiss Jan-Lennard Struff, although the physical advantage of a much shorter match is largely nullified by the unexpected rest day between quarters and semis. What’s not nullified is how impressively well Djokovic played against an opponent who could, and perhaps should, have been tricky; Struff had ousted 2019 runner-up David Goffin, and took a set from Djokovic in their last encounter at the Australian Open, but never came anywhere near doing so on Wednesday. Djokovic broke early and broke often, and although he was broken himself when serving for the match, he claimed his fifth break to record a 6-3, 6-1 win.
Looking better and better since his scrappy opener against Ricardas Berankis and seemingly untroubled by the neck pain which saw him pull out of doubles, Djokovic was hitting clean forehand winners off the back foot for fun against Struff. Bautista Agut should be much tougher – he lacks the kind of outright weaponry Struff possesses, but he gets a lot of balls back, and doesn’t yield the baseline tamely; he’s also got plenty of options in his game if plan A isn’t working. He’s also won the last three hard-court matches vs Djokovic, although there’s a context for each defeat. The Spaniard will keep the scoreline respectable and close, but Djokovic will get the win.