ATP

Bautista Agut reaches Qatar final, Tsitsipas out in Marseille

By Sports Desk February 18, 2022

Roberto Bautista Agut followed two sprints with a gruelling slog as he battled past Karen Khachanov to reach the final of the Qatar Open.

Spanish second seed Bautista Agut had dashed past Andy Murray and Alejandro Davidovich Fokina for the loss of just three games in Doha, but Khachanov proved far more obdurate.

After a slow start, eventually Bautista Agut picked up the pace and emerged a 2-6 6-3 7-5 winner in two hours and 24 minutes of toil, earning a shot at Georgia's Nikoloz Basilashvili in Saturday's final.

Bautista Agut praised Russian Khachanov for making him scrap for the win.

"He was playing very fast," said Bautista Agut, quoted on the ATP website. "He was playing very solidly, he was defending very well and he hit many unbelievable passing shots. I had to play incredibly well tonight. I enjoyed tonight so much."

Third seed Basilashvili is the defending champion this week and made light work of France's Arthur Rinderknech, tying up a 6-4 6-2 victory.

In Marseille, Greek top seed Stefanos Tsitsipas was stunned by Russian qualifier Roman Safiullin in the Open 13 quarter-finals. World number 163 Safiullin had a staggering 13 break points against the under-performing Tsitsipas serve, and although 11 of those were saved, the two that were not decided the match.

Safiullin, for his part, faced one break point and saved it on the way to a 6-4 6-4 victory. He made his presence felt at the ATP Cup in Australia at the start of the year and, although results have been disappointing since, the 24-year-old is doing well again in France this week.

Next for Safiullin will be last week's Rotterdam champion Felix Auger-Aliassime, who saw off Belarusian Ilya Ivashka 6-3 6-4 in the last match of the day. After losing his first eight finals on the ATP Tour, Auger-Aliassime may well be closing in on a second title in eight days.

Saturday's other semi-final will see Russian second seed Andrey Rublev tackle Frenchman Benjamin Bonzi, who reached the last four of a main-tour event for the first time by crushing Aslan Karatsev 6-1 6-3.

Rublev dug deep to edge out French wildcard and former top-10 player Lucas Pouille 6-3 1-6 6-2.

Related items

  • Wimbledon: Kyrgios and Tsitsipas handed fines after ill-tempered showdown Wimbledon: Kyrgios and Tsitsipas handed fines after ill-tempered showdown

    Nick Kyrgios and Stefanos Tsitsipas have been handed fines for their actions during a fiery Wimbledon clash where the former was accused of being a "bully".

    The pair played out an ill-tempered third round encounter on Court One that saw the Australian come from behind to defeat the fourth seed in a 6-7 (2-7) 6-4 6-3 7-6 (9-7) win.

    The pair traded furious remarks afterwards, with the Greek accusing his rival of having an "evil side", while Kyrgios called his opponent "soft" and suggested he is disliked by his fellow players.

    Now, the duo have been handed financial penalties, with Kyrgios charged $4,000 (£3,300) for an audible obscenity and Tsitsipas slapped with a $10,000 (£8,250) fine for unsportsmanlike conduct.

    It is the second fine of the tournament for Kyrgios, who was sanctioned for an incident in his opening clash with Britain's Paul Jubb.

    The Australian - who experienced grand-slam glory on home soil in the men's doubles earlier this year - will now face Brandon Nakashima in a last-16 tie.

  • Wimbledon: 'Phew! I am lucky!' – Djokovic relieved to get job done just before curfew Wimbledon: 'Phew! I am lucky!' – Djokovic relieved to get job done just before curfew

    Novak Djokovic beat Tim van Rijthoven on Sunday to take his place in the Wimbledon quarter-finals, and was very relieved to get the job done ahead of the 23:00BST curfew.

    World number one Djokovic saw off the Wimbledon debutant 6-2 4-6 6-1 6-2 on Centre Court to set up an intriguing last-eight clash with Jannik Sinner.

    The contest did not go all the defending champion's way, however, as Van Rijthoven's display in the second set suggested Djokovic would have to dig deep.

    But the Serb's response was emphatic as he went on drop just three games in the following two sets, blowing the 25-year-old Dutchman away impressively to reach a 13th Wimbledon quarter-final.

    It was also Djokovic's 25th successive win at Wimbledon, a sequence that has only ever been bettered three times in SW19.

    For a while there seemed to be a real threat of Van Rijthoven taking the match into a second day, with the curfew looming.

    Djokovic suggested he was not entirely aware of the deadline, and that only increased his relief after clinching victory with 22 minutes to spare.

    Speaking on court afterwards, Djokovic said: "I don't know if there was a curfew, 11pm? Is that still on? Okay, phew!

    "I am lucky, I am lucky. It's only 20 minutes, too, so I'm lucky. I have had some previous experience of playing a match over two days under the roof against [Rafael] Nadal some years ago, and it's never really pleasant if you can't finish the match the same day.

    "I am glad I did and now I am just looking forward to the next challenge."

    Specifically on Van Rijthoven, Djokovic added: "He was very tough, he's kind of a new face on the tour and actually won his first ATP match in the tournament he won a few weeks ago in his country, beating players in top five, top 10 in the world.

    "He was on a streak on this surface, so I knew it wasn't going to be easy with that serve and a lot of talent, great touch and a powerful forehand. He can do a lot of damage.

    "It took me a little bit of time to get used to his pace, and the conditions under the roof are a little bit different, a bit slippery, so it takes a bit of adjusting, but overall I closed out the match well."

  • Wimbledon: Djokovic survives 'very tough' battle with Van Rijthoven to set up Sinner showdown Wimbledon: Djokovic survives 'very tough' battle with Van Rijthoven to set up Sinner showdown

    Novak Djokovic stared danger in the face and scared it off in inimitable fashion as Wimbledon's defending champion scored a late-night win over Tim van Rijthoven.

    Chasing a fourth successive title at the All England Club, Djokovic shrugged off the jolt of dropping the second set to scorch through the next two and secure a 6-2 4-6 6-1 6-2 victory in the fourth-round contest.

    Having been part of an early-afternoon parade of champions, marking Centre Court's centenary, six-time Wimbledon king Djokovic returned to the arena and served a reminder of why he has become so difficult to beat. This was his 25th consecutive match win in the men's singles at Wimbledon, and only Bjorn Borg (41), Roger Federer (40) and Pete Sampras (31) have had more in a row.

    Van Rijthoven's fairy-tale rise to prominence during this grass-court season has included wins over world number one Daniil Medvedev and Felix Auger-Aliassime at the Rosmalen Grass Court Championships. The victory over Medvedev came in the final, with Van Rijthoven's ranking jumping from 205th to 106th on the ATP list, Wimbledon swiftly proffering a wildcard.

    Seeds Reilly Opelka and Nikoloz Basilashvili both fell to Van Rijthoven in Wimbledon's early rounds, and when he sealed the second set against Djokovic with back-to-back aces, it fuelled the Dutchman's belief that he might add an even greater scalp.

    A dazzling backhand from Djokovic set up break point in game two of the third set, and with a curfew of 23:00BST, the Serbian knew he needed to hurry up. Van Rijthoven speared a forehand long and the break was established, at 21:43BST.

    Djokovic surged 5-0 ahead; and although Van Rijthoven spared himself a 'bagel', the damage had been done. Soon the top seed was a set away from the finish line, all across his opponent's game, and Van Rijthoven knew the jig was up. That finish line was crossed at 22:38BST. Djokovic said it had been a "very tough" battle, but he survives and faces Jannik Sinner next.

    Data slam: Poles apart, and eventually it showed

    Where Van Rijthoven has one ATP-level title, Djokovic has 87. The 35-year-old Serbian remains the firm favourite to be holding the trophy on Centre Court next Sunday, that second set notwithstanding. Djokovic's resilient effort against a man in form means there has still never been an incidence of the men's singles top seed losing to a wildcard at a grand slam in the Open Era (since 1968).

    WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS
    Djokovic – 28/19
    Van Rijthoven – 41/53

    ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS
    Djokovic – 7/2
    Van Rijthoven – 20/5

    BREAK POINTS WON
    Djokovic – 6/17
    Van Rijthoven – 1/4

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.