Fixture: Roberto Bautista Agut vs Alexander Bublik
Date: 10 March 2021
Tournament: Qatar ExxonMobil Open 2021
Round: Second Round (Round of 16)
Venue: Doha, Qatar
Category: ATP 250
Surface: Outdoor hardcourt
Prize money: $787,930
Live telecast: USA - Tennis Channel | India - Eurosport
Roberto Bautista Agut vs Alexander Bublik preview
World No. 13 Roberto Bautista Agut will take on the fast-rising Alexander Bubilk in the second round at Doha on Wednesday.
Bautista Agut has not had a lot of success in 2021, with just a 50% win-loss record so far in his tour matches. The Spaniard suffered a shock defeat to Radu Albot in his opener at the Australian Open, before finishing runner-up to David Goffin in Montpellier.
Bautista Agut then faced another setback in Rotterdam, where he was upset early by Alejandro Davidovich Fokina. Seeded fifth in Doha, the 32-year-old had another tough match in his opening round as he was at the receiving end of 22 aces from the big-serving Reilly Opelka. But Bautista Agut was able to convert the few chances he got on the American's second serve, eventually prevailing in three sets.
Alexander Bublik, meanwhile, has had a good start to his 2021 season so far. The Kazakh reached the final at both the Antalya Open and the Singapore Open, losing to fellow Next Gen players Alex de Minaur and Alexei Popyrin respectively.
Bublik also upset World No. 7 Alexander Zverev in the first round at Rotterdam last week, before losing to USA's Tommy Paul in the second.
Roberto Bautista Agut vs Alexander Bublik head-to-head
Alexander Bublik surprisingly leads Roberto Bautist Agut by a margin of 1-0 in the head-to-head. Their only encounter came in the Round of 16 at the 2016 Moscow Open, where Bublik shocked the top-seeded Bautista Agut to reach the quarterfinals of an ATP event for the first time in his career.
Roberto Bautista Agut vs Alexander Bublik prediction
Roberto Bautista Agut constantly looks to assert his position on the court with his deep and accurate forehand. But he doesn't have a lot of raw power in his groundstrokes, and that can sometimes turn a seemingly routine match into a tough one.
Alexander Bublik will be looking to exploit this very weakness of the Spanish veteran, particularly since he himself possesses a big first serve and plenty of pop on his backhand. The 23-year-old also likes playing finesse and trick shots, and has helped make the under-arm serve fashionable again.
That said, Bublik does have a knack for making untimely errors when put under pressure. That, coupled with his tendency to lose focus in long matches, could hamper the World No. 44's chances of getting the win.
Bublik is certainly a dangerous opponent for Bautista Agut, but the Spaniard's experience is likely to see him through to the last eight in Doha.
Prediction: Roberto Bautista Agut to win in three sets.