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Tennis ATP • Novak Djokovic Loses To Bautista Agut, Auger-Aliassime Continues Miami Run

Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain reacts after defeating Novak Djokovic of Serbia during their men’s singles match at the Miami Open tennis tournament in Miami, Florida, USA, 26 March 2019. EPA-EFE/JASON SZENES



By Ricky Dimon


Novak Djokovic was heavily favored to reach the Miami Open final out of a depleted top half of the draw. Now it is anyone’s ballgame.


The door blew wide open for everyone left in the top half when Roberto Bautista Agut upset Djokovic 1-6, 7-5, 6-3 on Tuesday evening. Bautista Agut recovered from a set and a break down to prevail after two hours and 29 minutes.


A 40-minute rain delay during the second set certainly helped the Spaniard, who came back out of the gates like gangbusters. Djokovic never again looked the same as he did in the first set, and the world No. 1’s malaise combined with Bautista Agut’s borderline flawless ball-striking led to the surprising result.


“It’s not the rain delay,” Djokovic said when asked about what flipped the momentum. “Look, (the) rain delay came at 5-4 (on serve). I was break up right away in the second. I lost the momentum; I lost the rhythm in the second set (before the delay). I gave him a little room to step in and he did. A little hope that he can come back, and he made a great comeback.


“But fault is on me, for sure. I had way too many opportunities that I wasted.”


epa07465353 Felix Auger Aliassime of Canada in action against Nikoloz Basilashvili of Georgia during their men’s singles match at the Miami Open tennis tournament in Miami, Florida, USA, 26 March 2019 EPA-EFE/JASON SZENES

Felix Auger-Aliassime is creating his own opportunities after heading to Miami without a wild card. Since successfully qualifying for the main draw, Auger-Aliassime has pulled off wins over Casper Ruud, Marton Fucsovics, Hubert Hurkacz, and Nikoloz Basilashvili. The 18-year-old Canadian continued his incredible February-March hot streak by beating Basilashvili 7-6(4), 6-4 on Tuesday afternoon.


“I think I have been dealing with [high expectations] for the last couple of years, so I think in a way that’s why I am able now to have these kind of results,” Auger-Aliassime explained. “Because this extra pressure, this attention that I gave maybe last year or the year before to the outcomes (and) to the media, that’s a bit behind me now. I’m able really to stay in the present and really focus on what I have to do on the court, finding ways to win. That just keeps me going and just keeps me happy.”


He will try to keep it going in Miami against Borna Coric on Wednesday after Coric defeated Nick Kyrgios 4-6, 6-3, 6-2.


The other top-half quarterfinal pits Bautista Agut against defending champion John Isner.


Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.


Editor’s note: And then the rain came…

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