Bautista Agut Ousts Tsonga To Reach SFs

Delight for the Spaniard

Roberto Bautista Agut is through to his second ATP World Tour Masters 1000 semi-final after beating ninth seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-3, 6-4 on Friday at the Shanghai Rolex Masters.

The Spaniard will face Novak Djokovic as he bids to reach his first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 final. His first semi-final came two years ago on home soil in Madrid, where he lost to Rafael Nadal.

"I'm happy about being in the semi-finals. But also, I'm happy with the way I'm working, with the way I'm planning all my days, with the way I'm playing on the court," said Bautista Agut. "I'm feeling great. I hope to continue like this."

Bautista Agut will need to overturn a 0-5 FedEx ATP Head2Head record against World No. 1 Djokovic if he is to make the final. "I am playing well and I'm doing the things well to face Novak," said the Spaniard. "For sure it's a good moment to face him. Novak is one of the best tennis players in history. I played against him a couple of really good matches. I know if I play good I can make it a difficult match for him."

Bautista Agut has run the rule over Tsonga in 2016 and Friday’s quarter-final followed suit as the 15th seed claimed victory in 73 minutes. After Bautista Agut had raced to a 5-1 lead in the opener, Tsonga clawed his way back into contention to make the second set competitive. But Bautista Agut made his decisive move in the 10th game, breaking Tsonga for the win.

"I played with a lot of intensity," said Bautista Agut. "I put a lot of pressure on the return and I played my game. I was calm. I was very concentrated in all the match. I think putting a lot of rhythm to make the match with high intensity was the key to beating him."

The Spaniard had lost his first two meetings with Tsonga, but this year saved a match point to beat the Frenchman in the Auckland semi-finals and edged him in a third-set tie-break in Miami. He is going for his third title of the season, after lifting the trophies in Auckland (d. Sock) and Sofia (d. Troicki).

Tsonga was on the comeback from a left knee injury that forced him to retire in the US Open quarter-finals against Djokovic and then to miss Metz, Chengdu and Beijing. The right-hander was the runner-up in Shanghai last year (l. to Djokovic) and was looking for another strong run to give himself an outside chance of qualifying for the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals.

"For me, it was a little surprise to play like this, this week," said Tsonga. "I hope I will continue to improve like this in the next few days and play better in the next tournament. Today was still good, I just lost to a guy who was better than me."