Tuesday, 21 September, 2021


Djokovic Beats Bautista Agut, Sets up Final Clash With Raonic

Novak Djokovic pulled off a moment of magic in New York that's rarely seen in tennis. Pic Getty  Tennis TVMore Novak Djokovic pulled off a moment of magic in New York that's rarely seen in tennis. Pic Getty Tennis TVMore
Noah Ferguson | 30 August, 2020, 03:23

World No. 1 Novak Djokovic overcame a sore neck and an early scare to defeat Spain's Roberto Bautista Agut 4-6 6-4 7-6 (0) in the semifinals of the Western & Southern Open on Friday, setting up a showpiece match against Canadian Milos Raonic.

"[It was a] very unusual match, I must say. He was the better player", Djokovic said.

A 22nd win this year secured the Serb's seventh final at the tournament - which this year is being held without fans at the site of next week's US Open amid the new coronavirus outbreak.

The 17-time Grand Slam victor fended off Raonic's mighty serve to extend his 2020 winning run to 23-0, clinching his 80th career title and equalling Rafael Nadal's record of 35 Masters 1000 wins.

Raonic wrote BLM, in reference to the Black Lives Matter movement, on the camera lens on court after he reached his biggest final since 2016 with a convincing 7-6 (7-5) 6-3 dismissal of Greek fourth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas.

But Djokovic came to life in the second set and a vital break of Raonic's monster serve in the sixth game allowed him to level up.

Djokovic is now set to face Canada's Milos Raonic in the finals.

"I know sometimes when you have results, people are looking for some magic trick that you're doing, but there is no magic".

Novak couldn't find the rhythm on both serve and return, landing 47% of the first serve in and offering Milos nearly 60% of the return points, enough to carry the Canadian in front in no time at all.

Indeed, Djokovic dropped the first set and only his extraordinary staying power allowed a recovery in a three-hour epic, before he required a tie-break in the third when the win had looked to be all but wrapped up.

Indeed, against the Spaniard, Novak was leading 5-2 in the 3rd set before losing 4 consecutive games.

The Canadian deals with long shots to beat Djokovic, who has actually thrived in all 10 of their previous conferences.

"I'm moving much better than I definitely have in recent years", Raonic said. Simply I didn't feel good on the court at all, in any aspect of my game and body.

Tsitsipas had a mini-break lead in the tiebreaker at one point, and actually had a set point with Raonic serving in the first set but shanked a backhand. "I was waiting and waiting and then I realized I was the one who was going to have to take the first step".

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