Bautista Agut Gives Spain Early ATP Cup Final Lead
Editor's Note: After Roberto Bautista Agut's win, Novak Djokovic defeated Rafael Nadal in the tie's No. 1 singles match and Djokovic/Viktor Troicki beat Pablo Carreno Busta/Feliciano Lopez to clinch the ATP Cup title.
The World No. 10 and Spain's No. 2 beat Dusan Lajovic 7-5, 6-1, breaking the Serbian five times and proving too steady from the baseline for the 29-year-old, who had been 4-1 at the season's first tournament.
“Dusan is playing at a great level but I played a very good match from my side,” Bautista Agut said. “He was aggressive and stepping inside the baseline to manage the game, but I believed I could change it and I played a great end of the first set and a great second set.”
Bautista Agut broke and jumped to a 3-0 lead, baiting Lajovic in side-to-side rallies. But the Serbian began injecting more pace into his forehand and dictating whenever the opportunity arose. He broke back in the fifth game, cuing the trumpets and flag waving from the overwhelmingly pro-Serbia crowd.
Bautista Agut, however, broke Lajovic in the 12th game to claim the opener. The Spaniard's consistent deep groundstrokes and inside-out forehand troubled Lajovic as the Serbian sliced a backhand into net on set point.
The Spaniard broke three more times in the second set to improve to 4-0 against Lajovic.
“It's been a great time. We enjoy a lot playing ATP Cup, being together, practising together, spending time as a team. We have a good chemistry and hopefully we can keep it like this for many more years,” he said.
World No. 1 Rafael Nadal and No. 2 Novak Djokovic will play next in front of a packed crowd for an Open Era record 55th time. (Total attendance for the 10-day tournament across three cities was 220,319.) Djokovic leads their head-to-head 28-26 (19-7 on hard courts).
The Serbian is 8-0 in matches and 17-0 in sets against Nadal on hard courts since the 2013 US Open final. Twelve months ago, at the 2019 Australian Open, Djokovic gave Nadal his only straight-sets loss in 27 Grand Slam finals.
“We are about to see one of the best matches we can see on a tennis court. Two of the best players in history. I will support Rafa as strong as I can and I believe he can make it and we can get the title here,” Bautista Agut said.