Bautista Agut stuns Djokovic, Barty topples Kvitova in Miami Open
27 Mar 2019
Roberto Bautista Agut celebrates after defeating Novak Djokovic during their Miami Open match. Agence France-Presse
Miami: Novak Djokovic’s pursuit of a record seventh Miami Open ATP title ended in dramatic fashion on Tuesday as Roberto Bautista Agut superbly recovered from a first set destruction to win 1-6, 7-5, 6-3 and book a place in the quarter-finals.
And the top seeds kept falling as women’s world number two Petra Kvitova slumped to a surprise 7-6 (8/6), 3-6, 6-2 defeat to Australian Ashleigh Barty.
Bautista Agut, 30, may have beaten Djokovic on the way to winning the title in Doha earlier this year but 15-time Grand Slam champion Djokovic started like a train in this last 16 encounter before being amazingly reined back in.
After just 25 minutes, Djokovic was 5-0 ahead and on cruise control, Bautista Agut severely struggling to keep the Serbian at bay.
A short rain delay late in the second set allowed Bautista Agut to regroup, however.
He returned a completely different player and at the end of an absorbing two hours and 29 minutes, it was the number 22 seed who will now meet defending champion John Isner for a place in the semi-finals.
The reigning Wimbledon, US Open and Australian Open champion left court and headed straight to a press conference to try and explain this most remarkable of turnarounds at Hard Rock Stadium.
He mixed up is shots superbly, blending power and subtlety to keep his opponent guessing.
The Spaniard grabbed two set points, the second of which was taken when the Serbian netted a forehand.
Bautista Agut broke again for 3-1 in the third following an uncharacteristic double fault and although Djokovic hit back in the very next game, the Spaniard again took advantage of his opponent’s faltering serve to move within two games of victory.
Serving for the match, he brought up two match points, another forehand winner sealing one of the best comebacks of his career and his third win over the world number one from their last five matches.
Big-serving Isner moved into the last eight with a 7-6 (7/5), 7-6 (7/3) triumph over Great Britain’s world number 22 Kyle Edmund.
Elsewhere there was a brilliant win for 18 year-old Felix Auger-Aliassime, the Canadian who came through qualifying, who beat Georgia’s Nikoloz Basilashvili 7-6 (7-4), 6-4.
Auger-Aliassime, who is set to become the first player born in the 2000s to break into the top 50 when the rankings are updated next week, plays Borna Coric after the Croatian beat Nick Kyrgios 4-6, 6-3, 6-2.
In the women’s draw, Barty, who beat Kvitova for the first time having gone into the clash 0-4, will play Anett Kontaveit for a place in Saturday’s final after the Estonian brought an end to Hsieh Su-Wei’s impressive run with a 3-6, 6-2, 7-5 victory to reach the last four in South Florida for the first time.