French Open: Novak Djokovic battles past Roberto Bautista Agut

French Open: Novak Djokovic battles past Roberto Bautista Agut

The Serbian faced his toughest challenge so far in Paris against Bautista Agut, with the Spaniard taking a set, though Djokovic eventually prevailed to reach the second week.

oliver-dickson-jefford
Oliver Dickson Jefford

20th seed and 2016 French Open champion Novak Djokovic continued his quest for a second title in Paris on Friday with a third-round win over 13th seed Roberto Bautista Agut, though the Serbian had his toughest match so far against the Spaniard out on Court Suzanne Lenglen.

Djokovic started brightly, breaking to seal the opening set, though missed multiple set points in the second as Bautista Agut evened up proceedings. The third set also proved to be tight, though the Spaniard missed a strong chance to close it out and eventually Djokovic took that and comfortably won the fourth, winning 6-4 6-7(6), 7-6(4), 6-2 in three hours and 48 minutes.

Djokovic serves during his third round win (Getty/Clive Brunskill)
Djokovic serves during his third round win (Getty/Clive Brunskill)

Djokovic remains firm to reach the fourth round

The first set was arguably when both men were playing their best tennis of the match, with very little between Bautista Agut and Djokovic. It was largely tight, with both men looking good on serve early on, though the Serbian began to make his move towards. Despite missing the first break points of the match at 4-3 up, which would have seen him serve for the set, the 20th seed held firm, breaking just two games later to seal the opener.

Like the first set, the second would also prove to be tight, though this time Djokovic was left to rue missed opportunities as Bautista Agut claimed it. With very little between the two up until 4-5, the Spaniard saved a set point to hold and even things up at 5-5, before saving two further set points two games later to secure a tiebreak. The 13th seed was largely in control of the breaker, and though Djokovic managed to get a couple of mini-breaks back, two costly errors off his racket handed Bautista Agut the second set.

Bautista Agut fell just short of knocking Djokovic out of the tournament (Getty/Clive Brunskill)
Bautista Agut fell just short of knocking Djokovic out of the tournament (Getty/Clive Brunskill)

The third set would prove crucial, with the Spaniard missing out on two big opportunities throughout. Bautista Agut broke early on and held a 3-1 lead, and thought that was pulled back by Djokovic breaking, the Spaniard broke again and eventually served for the set at 5-3. However, he was unable to close it out, and it was his opponent who controlled the rest of the set, taking the breaker to take a two sets to one lead.

Despite the fact he could have won in straight sets, Djokovic was incredibly firm after that third set comeback and was in complete control of what proved to be the final set. The Serbian began to completely break down Bautista Agut and broke twice on his way to a 5-1 lead. A double fault saw the Spaniard break when the 2016 Roland Garros champion served for it then, though Djokovic converted a second match point on the Spaniard’s serve in the very next game to win.

VAVEL Logo