No. 1 Novak Djokovic Loses to Roberto Bautista Agut in Fourth Round of Miami Open
(March 26, 2019) MIAMI, FL – Top seed Novak Djokovic had a set and a break lead, but lost momentum and the match to Roberto Bautista Agut 1-6, 7-5, 6-3. This marks the third straight win on hardcourts for the Spaniard over Djokovic.
“But this kind of match I should not have lost,” said the six-time Miami winner. “So many opportunities. Just way too many wasted opportunities. This is what happens when you don’t capitalize on time.”
The match was interrupted by rain in the second set, but Djokovic did not use it as an excuse for losing.
“Well, it’s not the rain delay. Look, rain delay came at 5-4. I was break up right away in the second. I lost the momentum, I lost the rhythm in the second set.
“I gave him, you know, 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.”
“Well, the key of the match was at the beginning of the second set, no?,” said Bautista Agut. “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.”
“I played more aggressive, (in the second set). 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.”
Youth is being served at this year’s Miami Open, especially on the men’s side of the draw.
Qualifier 18-year-old Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime beat 17th-seeded Georgian Nikoloz Basilashvili 7-6(4), 6-4 to reach his first Masters 1000 series quarterfinal.
The young Canadian talked about the closeness of the contest. “I think he was almost playing a little bit better (in the first set). Maybe he had a few more occasions than me to break me, a lot more break points.
“When I got broken at 5-All, tried to stay calm, tried to find a way. You know, maybe he does, like, unforced error, did a double fault, and then maybe got tight and I was back in the match.
“So it was about finding ways. I think in the tiebreak, I was able to be a bit more solid and pressure him a little bit more, and it really made a difference. After, I felt like I had an edge over him in the second set, being up a break twice and being able to secure my serve at the end. So it was more my way then.”
Auger-Aliassime talked about dealing with all of the media attention since he was a junior and being able to deal with the pressure that comes with it. “I think I have been dealing with this 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, because this extra pressure, this attention that I gave maybe last year or the year before to the outcomes, to the medias, that’s a bit behind me now where I’m able really to stay in the present and really focus on what I have to do in the court, finding ways to win. That just keeps me going and just keeps me happy.”
Auger-Aliassime, plays No. 11th seed Borna Coric. “You have Coric that is one of the most solid players on the tour from the baseline, super disciplined. That would have to, you know, find ways to create some space. Maybe finish the points at the net a little bit more.
Coric, from Croatia, rallied past 27th seed Nick Kyrgios 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, in a Topsy-turvy contest in which Kyrgios had some issues with fans and himself.
“Honestly, today, I mean, just a more disciplined — a more disciplined player just won,” said Kyrgios. “He’s an unbelievable competitor. He doesn’t give you any free points. He played solid.
“I just lost concentration. Kind of got a little bored in the second set, like my concentration just started veering off. Like, I was 40-15 up. I think it was maybe at 2-1 in the second. I started hitting, like, a Federer serve and stuff. I just lost a bit of concentration.
“He’s a good enough player to just capitalize. And, yeah, I mean, I lost the match on my racquet today, no doubt about it. But, you know, it’s no surprise, honestly. I have done it before.
“You know, it’s a tough loss. I mean, there were some really cool points, obviously. I just have to be better mentally. Simple as that. I’ve got to lock in, just take care of 40-15 points, not screw around so much.”
Coric’s game seemed to turn around after he got angry with himself and tossed his racquet.
“That was the moment where I was really close of actually losing the match, because I was losing my composure,” he said in press. “I was not playing well. I was not serving well. I just kind of didn’t know what to do anymore.
“It got me back on my feet. I let go all of my frustrations, and I started to play better again. I started to serve better. I started to think, you know, more clear. So that was one of the turning points, definitely, yeah.”
Coric discussed his next opponent, Auger-Aliassime: “He’s making great results in the last six months. I haven’t watched many of his matches, to be honest. I have watched maybe one or two while I was warming up or something. I need to do my homework tonight.
“But, you know, like I said, he’s been playing great for the last six months. Obviously, you know, he has huge confidence right now, and it’s gonna be very interesting match.”
“It’s going to be also some new situation for me, you know,” he continued. “It’s not very often that I play guys who are younger than me who has nothing to lose.
“So it’s gonna be something new, definitely. I’m just really looking forward to it. And also to see how I’m going to react on that, how I’m going to behave in that kind of situation, which I have been but not many times, especially at the big occasions, you know, in the quarterfinals of the 1000.
“So I need to prepare very well mentally. I need to be ready. I might not play my best tennis because of the pressure or because of this new kind of situation, but again, you need to win matches when you’re not playing great. Gonna see.”
American Frances Tiafoe, seeded 28th won the last four games of the first set to beat 18th seed David Goffin 7-5, 7-6 to reach his first Masters 1000 quarterfinal.
Denis Shapovalov rallied to defeat Stefanos Tsitsipas 4-6, 6-3, 7-6(3) and will play Tiafoe next.
Defending champion John Isner moved into the Miami Open quarterfinals with a 7-6 (5), 7-6 (3) win over 19th seed Kyle Edmund.
Isner has played only one set this tournament which has not been a tiebreaker.
Plays Bautista Agut for a place in the final four.
Playing his first tournament back from an elbow injury, Kevin Anderson is in the elite 8 of the Miami Open. The South African, seeded 8th beat Australian Jordan Thompson 7-5, 7-5 to reach his third Miami quarterfinal.
Anderson bounced back from a 1-4 deficit in the first set and won six of the next seven games.
The Roger Federer – Danil Medvedev match was postponed until Wednesday due to the length of the matches on stadium court and a number of rain delays.
In women’s action, Ashleigh Barty earned her first win over Petra Kvitova 7-6, 3-6, 6-2. the win for the Australian means she’ll make her top Ten debut on Monday.
“It was important for me to try and take Petra’s serve away from her as much as possible,” aid Barty. “She’s got an absolute world-class serve.
“Yeah, at times it was still out of my control, but I tried to do the best I could and tried to get into as many service games as I could, and I thought I did that really well tonight.”
Asked how she felt about making the Top Ten, she said: “Bloody good.”
“I think it’s been a goal of mine. That’s no secret. It’s amazing what happens when you put your hopes and dreams out into the universe and do the work. You know, it’s amazing.
“I had an opportunity last week that I wasn’t able to grab, and this week was about coming here and continuing to try and trust the process and enjoy the journey that I’m on. It’s a pretty beautiful thing being able to play tennis for a living.”
“It’s been a goal of mine for a long time now.
“It’s amazing that I have been able to achieve it. But there is still a long way to go, and I’m not satisfied. I’m still hungry to get better as a person and as a player. If that means that the ranking gets higher and higher, that’s pretty cool, as well.”
Barty’s win took Kvitova out of the hunt for the No. 1 ranking this week.
The 21st seed Anett Kontaveit stopped the run of 28th seed Hsieh Su-Wei by winning 3-6, 6-2, 7-5 to reach the semifinals.
“I was so close to being out of there so many times,” Kontaveit said.
“Yeah, I just tried to keep fighting and trying to stay in there and try and still be aggressive somehow. I was trying to think more about what I have to do than about the score.”
“I’m really happy, my first semifinal in a Premier Mandatory. Yeah, it’s definitely — you know, I feel like my game is heading in the right direction.
“Today probably wasn’t, you know, the best match that I have ever played, but I’m so happy to be through that. I feel like I fought really well and I never gave up. I’m really, really happy with the improvements I’m making and being more positive with myself, whatever the score is, and all these little things that are getting better.”