Serbian ace Novak Djokovic lost in the semi-finals to Spain’s Roberto Bautista Agut in Shanghai at the Shanghai Rolex Masters, ousted en route to the title defense in straight sets, with Bautista Agut taking a 6-4, 6-4 victory.
The tall top-ranked player, who is top seed at the Shanghai Rolex Masters this year is the defending champion here, and had beaten French ace Jo-Wilfried Tsonga to the title in 2015.
Bautista Agut, who has been consistent this year, held his own in some long rallies in today’s semi-final, with some precise shot placement and a good athletic display. The Spaniard, the 15th seed at the tournament, dismantled last year’s runner-up and this year’s ninth seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in straight sets 6-3, 6-4 to make the semi-finals.
The Spanish 15th seed, who is ranked 19th in the world, beat his Serbian World No. 1 rival to play the winner of the second semi-final, between World No. 2 Andy Murray and Frenchman Gilles Simon, with that match to be played later this evening.
Today, Bautista Agut made some strong slides and cross-court movement, and responding to Djokovic’s strong shot-making with some powerful reflex forehands.
The 28-year-old Spaniard fought hard to make his first ever ATP Masters final, and his tenth ATP World Tour level final of the year.
It also marks his first ever victory against any player who has been ranked World No. 1.
Djokovic, who has struggled with form following his French Open win this year, has suffered a number of early losses at tournaments – including Wimbledon, and lost the finals of the US Open to Stan Wawrinka. He has attributed this to a number of causes, most key among them his niggling wrist injury and what he has described as “personal issues”, althoug he is yet to elaborate on them.
The first set saw Bautista Agut take two breaks of serve, hitting five aces to Djokovic’s four. He also forced a number of errors off the racquet of the Serb today, and took him to break point on three occasions, successfully converting twice with the Serb breaking back on one occasion – a feat repeated in the second.
The pair had a 5-0 record in favour of the Serb, having last played each other at this year’s French Open, with the Spaniard taking Djokovic to four sets.
Today, however, Bautista Agut put on a display of consummate skill, holding nerve to take the first set in 42 minutes. He would go on to break Djokovic a further three times in the second set, with a frustrated Djokovic clearly against the wall against the booming forehands of Bautista Agut.
Although the odds had been on a Djokovic-Murray final in Shanghai, it will likely be Andy Murray playing Bautista Agut in tomorrow’s final.