Fixture: (12) Felix Auger-Aliassime vs (18) Roberto Bautista Agut
Date: 3 September 2021
Tournament: 2021 US Open
Round: Third round (Round of 32)
Venue: Flushing Meadows, New York
Category: Grand Slam
Surface: Outdoor hardcourt
Prize money: $40,560,000
Live telecast: USA - Tennis Channel & ESPN/ESPN 2 | UK - Amazon Prime Video | India - Star Sports / Disney+ Hotstar VIP
Felix Auger-Aliassime vs Roberto Bautista Agut preview
Rising star Felix Auger-Aliassime will take on Spain's Roberto Bautista Agut in the third round of the 2021 US Open on Friday. It promises to be a cracker of a contest between an up-and-coming youngster and an established veteran.
Auger-Aliassime defeated Bernabe Zapata Miralles 7-6(5), 6-3, 6-2 in his second-round match on Wednesday. The Canadian was a lot more comfortable in that encounter than he was in his first-round win over Evgeny Donskoy.
That could be attributed to the difference in playing styles of Donskoy and Zapata Miralles. While Donskoy struck 39 winners against Auger-Aliassime, Zapata Miralles could muster just nine.
Moreover, the Canadian could hardly get a read on Donskoy's serve in the first round, and could convert just one break point out of five opportunities. But against Zapata Miralles, Auger-Aliassime adopted a more aggressive strategy on return which helped him convert five of the 10 break points he created.
Needless to say, the 21-year-old will face an even tougher test against 18th seed Roberto Bautista Agut, who has looked like a man on a mission so far in New York.
Bautista Agut blazed past Nick Kyrgios in the first round, winning 6-3, 6-4, 6-0. Not only did he dominate Kyrgios off the ground, he also outserved the big-serving Aussie. Bautista Agut sent down more aces than Kyrgios (14-12), landed more first serves, and had a greater win percentage on the first as well as second serve.
The 33-year-old followed that up with an equally emphatic 6-1, 6-3, 6-2 win over Emil Ruusuvuori in the second round on Wednesday. Bautista Agut couldn't quite replicate his impressive serving numbers from the first round in the match against Ruusuvuori, but he made sure his return game was on point.
Bautista Agut created a whopping 14 break point opportunities on the Finn's serve, out of which he converted eight.
Felix Auger-Aliassime vs Roberto Bautista Agut head-to-head
The head-to-head between Felix Auger-Aliassime and Roberto Bautista Agut is currently tied at 1-1.
The two first locked horns in the 2019 Davis Cup Finals, where the Spaniard won 7-6(3), 6-3. Bautista Agut and Auger-Aliassime next faced each other at Cologne in 2020, with the Canadian winning 6-3, 1-6, 6-3.
Felix Auger-Aliassime vs Roberto Bautista Agut prediction
Roberto Bautista Agut heads into this fixture with a slight advantage as he has already played two powerful baseliners in Nick Kyrgios and Emil Ruusuvuori. Felix Auger-Aliassime is also an aggressive baseliner like those two players, but he does have much better defense.
Bautista Agut on his part is a solid returner, and he will back himself to get a lot of the Canadian's powerful serves in play. At the same time, Auger-Aliassime will look to capitalize on the Spaniard's serve, which isn't amongst the biggest out there.
This has all the makings of a classic battle between two exceptional players. But we expect Felix Auger-Aliassime to pull off a narrow win given the quickness of the courts this year.
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Prediction: Felix Auger-Aliassime to win in five sets.