Fixture: (1) Dominic Thiem vs (5) Roberto Bautista Agut
Date: 11 March 2021
Tournament: Qatar ExxonMobil Open 2021
Venue: Doha, Qatar
Category: ATP 250
Surface: Outdoor hardcourt
Prize money: $787,930
Match timing: Approx. 8 pm local time, 10.30 pm IST
Live telecast: USA - Tennis Channel
Dominic Thiem vs Roberto Bautista Agut preview
Top seed Dominic Thiem will be looking to get back to his title-winning ways in Doha when he faces World No. 13 Roberto Bautista Agut for a place in the semifinals of the 2021 Qatar ExxonMobil Open.
Thiem took some time off after his fourth-round defeat to Grigor Dimitrov at the 2021 Australian Open, deciding to give himself some rest while he recovered from a right foot issue. That seems to have paid off, as the Austrian looked sharp in his opener against the dangerous Aslan Karatsev.
Thiem dropped the first set in a tiebreaker but was almost flawless the rest of the way. The 2020 US Open champion won 83% of his first-serve points and broke serve thrice en route beating Karatsev 6-7, 6-3, 6-2.
Bautista Agut, meanwhile, won his first-round match against the big-serving Reilly Opelka in three tough sets. But the Spaniard was in complete control in the next match, as he took down the in-form Alexander Bublik with ease.
Bautista Agut is a past champion in Doha, having won the title in 2019.
Dominic Thiem vs Roberto Bautista Agut head-to-head
Dominic Thiem and Roberto Bautista Agut have faced off four times on the ATP tour, with Bautista Agut leading the head-to-head 3-1. The Spaniard got his three wins over the Austrian across 2014 and 2015, when Thiem was taking his first tentative steps on the circuit.
Thiem got his first victory in the rivalry in 2018, beating Bautista Agut en route winning the title at the St. Petersburg Open.
Dominic Thiem vs Roberto Bautista Agut prediction
Dominic Thiem's aggressive baseline game makes him a threat on every surfae. The Austrian possesses natural power from both wings, and can also mix up spins to surprise his opponents.
Perhaps most importantly though, Thiem has a strong first serve; the World No. 4 faced just two break points during his win over Karatsev.
Roberto Bautista Agut does not have Thiem's raw power, but he swings his racquet with incredible speed and control. The Spaniard can drive cross-court backhands all day long, something that Thiem won't like.
The key for Bautista Agut would be to hit consistently deep shots and get the Austrian into long crosscourt rallies. Thiem has recently been hampered by a right foot injury, and if the issue resurfaces then he might have trouble getting enough balls back in play.
But if Thiem is fully fit and dialed in, he is likely to go through to the last four in Doha.
Prediction: Dominic Thiem to win in three sets.