Doha | Djokovic loses – and his rag
Novak Djokovic arrived in Doha earlier this week following his success in the Mubadala World Tennis Championships exhibition which he won for the third consecutive year.
What happened? I lost the match. That’s it Novak Djokovic
In Doha for the Qatar Exxonmobil Open, the Serbian world No.1 was clear favourite to run off with this year’s top honours in what is his first official event of the season and he duly progressed to the semi-final stage with victories over Damir Dzumhur, Marton Fucsovics and Nikoloz Basilashvili. It was a comfortable win over Dzumur but not so against the other two as he lost both his opening sets against them.
Nonetheless, he managed to pass those tests but the 7th seed Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain, took full advantage of the frailty he was showing to dismiss him from the event 3-6, 7-6(6) 6-4 in two hours and 35 minutes. It was the Spaniard’s second win over Djokovic in nine matches.
Bautista Agut’s speed and movement proved the tipping point as he took full advantage of a tired-looking opponent to reach his 16th ATP final with only his eighth victory over a top-ten player.
Frustration was clearly evident as Djokovic smashed his racket after failing to hold his serve in the second set having just broken to go ahead forcing him to work hard prevent another three setter which he failed to do in the tight tiebreak.
With the momentum now clearly behind the Spaniard, he captured the Djokovic serve in the opening game and with his serve working well, he romped through to gain a morale boosting victory on his first match point.
“What happened? I lost the match. That’s it,” a clearly frustrated Djokovic said in his post-match press conference.
“I thought I was pretty much in control of the match, set and a break, serving 4-3.
“He played a good game. I missed some easy balls and that’s what you get as a result of losing the focus in the most important moments and it happens, it happens.
“I wasn’t the freshest, you know.
“This is what I was looking forward to, to get from this tournament, as many matches as possible, to get ready for the Australian Open, so I’m very pleased.
“Obviously, I’m not pleased that I lost the match today, but I lost to a better player in the end.”
“I will remember this match for [the rest] of my life,” said the 30-year-old Spaniard, adding “I can’t be more happy than I am now.”
In Saturday’s final he will play Tomas Berdych who defeated Marco Cecchinato 7-6(6) 6-3 in the other semi-final.