Novak Djokovic vs Roberto Bautista Agut: Cincinnati Open Preview and Prediction
The world number 1, Novak Djokovic locks horns against 12th-ranked Roberto Bautista Agut in a mouthwatering semifinal clash in the Cincinnati Open.
The Serb has not lost a set so far in this tournament. He began his campaign by ousting Ricardas Berankis 7-6 6-4. Djokovic did admit of rustiness in form after his return to competitive tennis.
He delivered a ruthless performance to dismiss homeboy, Tennys Sandgren 6-2 6-4 in the pre-quarterfinals. With a winning percentage of 84% on his first serve, he was impressive.
His level went up a notch higher in the quarterfinals as he thrashed Jan-Lennard Struff 6-3 6-1 to reach the semifinals.
On the other hand, Agut has spent more time on the court having played two back-to-back three-setters in his route to the semifinals.
The Spaniard was clinical when he outlasted veteran, Richard Gasquet 7-5 6-1 in his first match. Despite committing seven double faults and losing the first set to Karen Khachanov in the pre-quarterfinals, Agut came back strong to win the next two sets 6-3 6-2.
The 32-year-old showed no signs of nervousness against the defending champion, Daniil Medvedev in the quarterfinals. He started slowly losing the first set 6-1. He bounced back to win the remaining two sets 6-4 6-3.
Strengths of Djokovic
The world's best returner thrives on hard-courts. Djokovic is an attacking counterpuncher. He displays a great sense of match awareness. The Serb's crosscourt backhand is one of the best on the tour. He has also strengthened his forehand in recent times. His weakness lies in his shoddy netplay and his volleying can be inconsistent at times.
Strengths of Agut
Agut is an attacking baseliner. He loves playing fast games and his powerful forehand can become devastating when he is in the zone. His backhand is vulnerable and Djokovic would love to exploit that weakness. Agut must improve the consistency of his first-serve.
Head to Head record
Djokovic leads the head to head record with eight wins and three losses. Agut's three wins against Djokovic have come on outdoor hard courts.
Having won the title here in 2018, Djokovic knows what it takes to clinch it again. Since Agut is in good nick, this is his best chance to beat Djokovic. He cannot afford another slow start as he may be virtually out of contention if Djokovic plays near-perfect tennis.
Prediction - Novak Djokovic to win in three sets
Featured image credits: Getty Images