It will be a special Thursday for both of us. At the Cincinnati Masters 1000, Novak Djokovic will not face the very tough Russian Daniil Medvedev, defending champion, but he will face another who has already given him some headaches, such as the case of Spanish Roberto Bautista Agut. For this reason, it will be a private semifinal at the US Open complex in New York.
The Serbian, No. 1 in the world, in this tournament on the return of the ATP circuit, after the official inactivity of the circuit due to the coronavirus pandemic, he scored three wins in straight sets and increased his unbeaten 2020 to 21 matches. But without a doubt that, although he will be a favorite, the Spaniard represents in recent years a problem for the owner of 17 Grand Slam titles.
Looking to match Rafael Nadal’s record of 35 cups at the Masters 1000, Djokovic has another careful Spaniard ahead of him. In this case it is the current N ° 12 of the ranking, with past 9th ATP, right-handed, very regular from the base. In fact, Bautista managed to recover and eliminated Medvedev (5th) in three sets this Wednesday, who had just beaten Djokovic in the semi-Cincinnati in 2019.
Djokovic leads 8-3 over Bautista overall. But a very important detail: the Spanish beat the Serbian in the last three duels on hard courts. The first occurred in the semi-final of Shanghai 2016, for the same round and in another Masters 1000, by 6-4 and 6-4.
Later, in the semifinal of Doha 2019, the Spanish gave the surprise in three sets and after losing the first, with a score of 3-6, 7-6 (6) and 6-4, to achieve his third victory over the Serbian in the round of 16 of Miami 2019, as it is another Masters 1000, by 1-6, 7-5 and 6-3.
This confirms the power of Bautista, because to his solidity from the bottom he adds struggle, sweat and patience, attributes of danger for Djokovic, who must work hard on points and try to accelerate to break it. In the Spaniard’s two most recent triumphs, having won in three innings also marks his ability not to give up and run with the same intensity until the last ball.
This is what the Serbian said after losing to the Spaniard in Miami last year: “He is a solid player. Congratulations on him, he is definitely a great competitor. But this kind of match I shouldn’t have missed. I had so many chances, too many chances I wasted. This is what happens when you don’t capitalize on them ”.
Meanwhile, Djokovic beat Bautista three times on concrete, in the first three personal duels, then in four on clay and the last between them, which occurred on grass, in the 2019 Wimbledon semifinal. The Serbian is 33 years old, one more than this rival, who wants to make him suffer again, now in Cincinnati.