On the eve of the Miami Master quarter-finals, the top seed Daniil Medvedev was confident that he knew how to exploit Roberto Bautista Agut’s weaknesses when they met to decide which one of them would progress to the last four.
If he broke a racket, it's because he lost his patience, I think I did some great things to put him under pressure and feel like this Roberto Bautista Agut
As it turned out, Medvedev wasn’t able to exploit whatever weakness he believed the Spaniard had as he turned the tables on the in-for Russian to play ‘a great match’..
At 32, the oldest of the eight quarter-finalists, Bautista Agut didn’t drop his serve throughout the 93-minute contest and incredibly, dropped just 4 points on his second serve as he swept past the top seed 6-4 6-2.
It was a very solid performance with the Spaniard hitting 12 winners and making just 15 unforced errors.
“I think I did a lot of things well. To beat Daniil in two sets, it’s because I played great tennis. I was very solid, and I could play with a lot of rhythm, make him work a lot,” is how the Spaniard explained away his success.
“Physically I felt well on the court. It was a very tight first set. It was a great match from my side,” he added in what was his third win over the Russian on a hardcourt and 13th overall with just two losses.
The two have very similar games in that they like to settle into long rallies and wait for their opponent to make a mistake. Patience is the key and Bautista Agut has it in abundance while Medvedev was unable to prevent his emotions from overflowing, smashing his racket when he fell behind 5-4 in the first set.
Medvedev smashed his racket in anger when he lost serve to fall behind late in the first set, and little went right for him for the rest of the match.
“If he broke a racket, it’s because he lost his patience,” Bautista Agut commented. “I think I did some great things to put him under pressure and feel like this.
“It’s never easy to beat these guys,” he added. “Today especially it was a very tough first set, very good rallies and very good points.
“I could start the second set very focused and it was good for me to break and be up on the score on the second set from the beginning.”
Medvedev is the third seeded player Bautista Agut has defeated this week having earlier scored wins over former champion John Isner and Germany’s Jan-Lennard Struff and his run in Miami is only the fourth time he has reached the last four at Masters level.
Standing in his way of a place in the final is the rising Italian star Jannik Sinner who disposed of Alexander Bublik in straight sets earlier in the day who currently holds a winning record against the Spaniard having beaten him in three tight sets in Dubai a few weeks ago,
“It was a very tough match in Dubai, and it was a very tight score,” Bautista Agut remembers. “He’s playing great, he’s very solid and he has very good strokes. I think I’ll have to play another good match like tonight.
“Jannik is playing great. I have to say he will be one of the best players in the world. I want to enjoy another good match and be happy about playing in the semi-finals.”
With Medvedev out of the running it means a new name will join the Masters Roll of Honour as all remaining challengers will be collecting their first.
The remaining two quarters finals will take place on Thursday with Stefanos Tsitsipas taking on Hubert Hurkacz in the afternoon session and then at night, Andrey Rublev faces American Sebastian Korda which has the potential of becoming the match of the day.