Djokovic wants it all

Bautista's great game did not prevent Djokovic from reaching the Cincinnati final. Despite his physical discomfort and being behind on the scoreboard, the Serbian did not surrender.


Roberto Bautista was close to writing this Friday in New York one of those pages that would have been unforgettable in the novel of his career. The Spaniard had in hand the victory for the fourth time in a row on hard court against one of the best players in history, the current number one, a cannibal who does not renounce anything, no matter how depleted he may seem: the great Novak Djokovic. But the Serbian's race, his voracity, prevented it (4-6, 6-4 and 7-6 (0)).

He had pain in his neck, a churning stomach, exhaustion ... and yet Djokovic did not miss the possibility of equaling Nadal's 35 Masters 1,000 titles this Saturday in the Cincinnati final (he is the only one who has won all nine) . Nole will play against Milos Raonic (the Canadian beat Tsitsipas 7-6 (5) and 6-1) in his ATP 114 final in search of his second trophy in the tournament (he lifted it in 2018). It will be at 19:00 (#Vamos y Movistar Deportes) .

A Bautista still has the consolation of having made a great championship, of staying close to the top-10 again and facing the US Open that starts on Monday with enthusiasm and hope. Chapeau. His first set was magnificent. He kept pace with the game, and that's saying a lot against one of the best-handling players on the circuit. The one from Castellón had patience to take the Balkan to long exchanges that did not suit him and exhausted his patience, so he failed more than he is usual. But not only did Roberto temporize. He served more than well, attacked when necessary and showed some good remains with which he managed to break the serve of the ranking leader twice. He did not break down when after the first break he lost his serve. He went about his business and intelligently set traps that Nole fell into frequently. In short, he gave a clinic of his sober and rocky style.

At this stage of the game, Djokovic was nodding complaining about his battered neck and to top it all, perhaps due to the effect of anti-inflammatories, his stomach began to upset. After struggling to carry out his second serve in the second heat, the Belgrade player requested a medical time-out and received somewhat violent physiotherapy treatment, with a mask and visor, overwhelming. With that apparent discomfort I continue in the fight, supposedly diminished and with my mind already set on being in conditions for the nearby US Open, but with the quality intact. Old fox. Thus came two break balls and the second could not save Bautista (3-1). Nole consolidated his lead and called the physio again. Strategy in the absence of an audience, although there were quite a few idle players in the stands, several Spaniards. Lots of drop and movement. Rober fought to save another break and that was key, because immediately after he tied the set with two memorable points. In the second he left the ogre down. And third departure of the doctor before 4-4. Now fatigue was making a real dent and Bautista pressed, although with the track closed due to the threat of rain, a circumstance that always favors Nole, he closed the set.

In the third set the general rhythm dropped. And it suited Bautista, who broke Djokovic's serve for 2-1 and served. However, his joy was short-lived and his rival tied. The duel turned into a kind of high-level boxing match with few errors, especially by the winner of 17 Grand Slams who did not spare when he had the opportunity and went for the victory. But the game was epic and Roberto leveled it again. The magic of tennis. His reaction did not stop there and a magnificent 4-0 gave him at least the option of a deserved tiebreaker after serving to win, although the victory against the best in the world escaped him. And it is that Djokovic does not usually lose decisive tie-breaks.

Results of the day.

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