Djokovic Unravels Against Bautista Agut, Spaniard To Face Murray In Shanghai Final

by Staff | October 15th, 2016, 2:27 pm

Novak Djokovic’s struggles continued Saturday in Shanghai. The defending champion was heavily favored to beat Roberto Bautista Agut in the semifinals but Djokovic suffered his first career loss in six meetings falling 6-4, 6-4 to the Spaniard.

During the defeat, Djokovic smashed his racquet and ripped his shirt in frustration.

“He was a better player, no question about it,” Djokovic said. “In important moments, he was more consistent. He was more solid.”

After starting the season winning six of nine events culminating with a first French Open title and the Nole Slam, Djokovic has won just one tournament in his last five, and now hints of burn out.

“In terms of results it was up and down, but there are definitely things that I need to regain from the emotional, mental point of view,” Djokovic told the press.

“So I guess I’m focusing on that more. It’s a transition somewhere in between, maybe just exhausted by the amount of matches I have had in the last 15 to 20 months,” he added.

“Maybe all in all that’s the cause of me feeling this way. But, I had to experience this sooner or later. I knew I could not go on playing at the highest level for so many years all the time.”

Bautista Agut puts himself into his first career Masters final.

“I can’t describe how I feel. I’m so happy. I played really good tennis this week, and I hope to play the same tennis tomorrow in the final,” Bautista Agut said.

“I tried to force him to play his best tennis. I think in the first set he played some good tennis. He played a little bit better than me,” Bautista Agut said. “But then I knew that I had to increase my level. I had to play more aggressive.

“It’s not easy to play Novak when he’s playing really good. I’m so happy I could beat him. The first time I remember I played him I thought he was from another planet, and now I think I’m closer to him.”

To win his first Masters title, Bautista Agut will have to now beat World No. 2 Andy Murray. The Scot powered to his ninth straight match win breezing past Gilles Simon 6-4, 6-3.

“It was a tough match today,” said Murray. “Probably the hardest one I had this week. Because of the conditions, it felt unbelievably humid on the court. I don’t know if that’s because the stadium was more full and therefore it was warmer.

“It was tough. There were lots of long rallies and a lot of ups and downs. He went up a break in the first set and came back at the end of both sets. It was hard. A lot of long games and I was behind on a few of my service games, too. It was a good one to get through in two sets.”

Murray, who won Shanghai in 2010 and 2011, has beaten Bautista Agut in both prior meetings at 2014 Wimbledon and at 2015 Munich.

Murray has now won nine straight matches and 18 sets in a row. And he’s got a real chance to catch Djokovic for the No. 1 ranking in the next month.

“I said that I want to try to get to No. 1 but this year is going to be extremely difficult,” Murray said. “The loss today helps me a little bit but I’m still quite far away from him, so I’m not thinking about the No. 1 ranking this week or right now.”

Murray is into his 10th final of the year, 20th overall at the Masters level. He’s seeking a 41st career title. Bautista Agut is appearing in his 10th final, 4th of 2016, and he’s bidding for a 5th career crown.

STADIUM start 1:30 pm
DOUBLES FINAL – H. Kontinen (FIN) / J. Peers (AUS) vs J. Isner (USA) / J. Sock (USA)

Not Before 4:30 pm
SINGLES FINAL – [15] R. Bautista Agut (ESP) vs [2] A. Murray (GBR)

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42 Comments for Djokovic Unravels Against Bautista Agut, Spaniard To Face Murray In Shanghai Final

Temple Says:

Well, it’s high time Novak Djokovic realized Zen and humming to himself does not work. If he thinks he is going to maintain No 1 status and win the important ones with “rediscovering the joy” of tennis, he is in for a big surprise. Because, guess what, No 1 and Grand Slams are not about the joy. They are about the pain and the suffering and the sacrifice and then more pain, more suffering and more sacrifice.

Not long ago, Djokovic had said something much more appropriate for a top caliber player, if I remember correctly: “No 1 is like being chased by a pack of wolves wanting to tear it apart from you”. That was the right mentality.

If Novak Djokovic thinks Zen is the answer, he could retire tomorrow. If he has decided not to, he could perhaps add 1 or 2 Masters and zero Grand Slams to his tally and fade.

If however, he wants to go on, he has to rediscover not joy, but hunger and pain (what Murray definitely has now, look at a man on a mission).

So, the racquet abuse and the shirt rip is the only good sign in those horrible tennis matches Novak Djokovic has played this week (I saw them all), having barely survived the humiliation of losing to a player outside the 100 and having, at least, a top 20 player putting him, out of his misery.

Get angry Nole or you’ll be out of the game in a year.

jalep Says:

Bravo, Temple. Preach it!
Careful how much anger though is what I’d add – we don’t want his head to explode.

J-Kath Says:

Temple: Worth thinking about. Why not post regularly on Tennix X?

Lyle nubbins Says:

@ Temple: awesome truth.

RZ Says:

Congrats to RBA, who has been having quite a good year on tour. But please don’t win your first masters title just yet…

Danica Says:

Way to go! Great post.

And absolutely congrats to the winners! What a week for RBA! It looks to me that Andy is following in Nole’s footsteps after the birth of the first child. They both were empowered.

I don’t think the final will be an easy match for Andy.

Humble Rafa Says:

This is a joyless world.

A Swiss man wins the US Open. There is no joy in this forum for most people.

A Spaniard beats a dominant world number 1. There is no joy.

Temple says sensible things. Nobody calls him a loser or a Federina. This is not normal.

#philosophic mood

skeezer Says:

“I knew I could not go on playing at the highest level for so many years all the time.”
In otherwords, I am no RF, the GOAT.

chrisford1 Says:

Temple, I’d agree with you more if Djokovic had not lived this scenario 4 times now. He probably knows the drill, knows what it will take if he wants to strive to be on top again.

1. Rocketing up the rankings, he beats the 3 top ranked players in Toronto in 2007, followed by the USO Final and takes the next Slam, his 1st. 2 Slam semis and knocked out at Wimbledon in 2nd round by Tommy Haas’ comeback, but he wins his 1st world championship at the end of 2008.

In 2009. though, the bottom drops out. No Slams, wrecked himself (and Rafa) in the Madrid epic they fought. Form and serve break down further, Todd Martin experiment a disaster. Thinks of quitting the game. People begin to say he was a one-Slam wonder, destined to never win again against the “Two Legends”.

2. 2011 happened. Considering Federer and Nadal were in their peak years, this was likely the greatest year a player had, outside Laver’s Grand Slam year. Better than 2015 though the statistics favor Djokovic 2015 and Fed’s 2006 – due to the level of competition he faced.

As 2011 closed, he hit a wall, out of gas. It was enough for Fed to sneak back and get a couple months as #1 after Fed won his last Slam.

3. After clawing back to #1, Djokovic was riding good as #1 in 2012 and 2013 with epic victories over Nadal, though he couldn’t crack the French Open.

Bad luck at the 2013 FO, then Wimbledon where del Potro and he battered one another in the semis, leaving little left to fight Andy in the Final with. But the key was after Wimbledon, Djokovic seemed to lose his way with lackluster play on the N American hardcourts and Rafa was able to beat him in 3 finals and seal a year end #1.

4. After losing the USO, Djokovic was on a rage path, winning everything else in 2013. He got #1 back upon beating Federer at Wimbledon in a 5 set thriller. Then broke away from the pack, no one close to his average level from mid 2014 through mid-2016.

This is just his latest looming fall – Andy has out played him since after the FO. Djokovic piled up most his points in the 1st half of 2016 so if Andy Murray simply plays Novak even, gets roughly the same amount of points, Andy becomes #1.

5. Chapter 5 of the wolf fighting his way to the top of the mountain is yet to be written.

Margot Says:

OMG laughed at HR!

J-Kath Says:


It’s tight, tight, very tight.

J-Kath Says:

Well done, Andy – excellent tie-break and second set a walk-over – sometimes you are a magician.

AndyMira Says:

BIG CONGRATS to Andy and ALL his supportive fans..M,RZ,JK,TheDA,Honfleureise and others..Also to Okie and Willow as well..
@M…I think “Chubby Chappy” suits him very well..He seems very ‘angry’ atm for your nickname..


Margot Says:

@ The Only 11.40 here but raising a glass to Andy! Hope you can join me. And all Andy fans first class, Kath, RZ, Colin, Hon and 2nd class Willow, OK and AM
Thanks AM darling, no coincidence you have same initials as the other darling AM.
Commies said Andy is “ the peak of his powers.” I can only agree.

Margot Says:

Dunno what happened there, the DA I was asking you to join me..

AndyMira Says:

@M…I’ve never seen Andy played with such confidence like he displayed all week..His defense is out of this world sometimes!He seems not tired at all..And to think,he’s just coming from an injury time off and busy schedule with DC and fatigue..He’s amazing M!There’s nothing more i could say except I’M VERY VERY HAPPY FOR YOU AND ANDY M!…C’MON!!!!!MUCH LOVE FROM ME..

J-Kath Says:

And cheers to you too, Margot and thumbs up to all Andy fans plus Thanks to the tried and true inner circle supporters: A.Mira; Willow; Okie and Honfleur (Margot’s friend?) and DA who seems to have vanished again.

Colin Says:

The commentator on the ATP site was saying Andy still needed to improve his emotional level a bit, but what I saw during this match, particularly in the second set, was Andy manipulating the other guy’s emotions!

theDA Says:

@Margot – *clinks glasses* Enjoying this latest win. Looked like it might unravel at one point but if there’s one thing Andy has improved (besides his 2nd serve) this year, it’s being clutch when needed. Unchartered territory. Very exciting times. Also like RBA’s game. If he improved his BH he could go far, or at least top 10.

Margot Says:

Cheers m’dear! Clink!

Van Persie Says:

Congrats for Andy and fans! The guy is on a roll.
Am looking forward for Paris.

Tennis Vagabond Says:

Yo, TX, where da new thread at? The one on Andy’s win, and closing the gap on #1?

I really didn’t believe Andy would challenge Novak for #1 in 2016 or 2017. This is quite stunning. He could realistically overtake him this year, or at least be in a position to challenge in Australia. This after Novak won the first two slams, and made finals at US. Its not like Novak has rolled over for him.

Anyways, still a long way to go to #1, but it must be on both their minds.

Miles Says:

Chrisford1 – 2006 was Federer’s peak year. After his glandular fever in 2008, he was never quite the same player, unfortunately.

I always regret the loss to tennis, as I believe that 2008 might, indeed, have been his best year – I think Rafa was at his peak then, too and it would have been something to see their confrontations had Roger been as fit as he had been. The Wimbledon final provided a glimpse into what we might have witnessed all year. I still belive Nadal would’ve won Roland Garros, but what a final it might have been.

As great as Djokovic has been, I think he’s benefited enormously from Nadal’s unexpected loss of form 3 years ago. Murray’s back operation also cost him 18 months of top tennis. During most of the last 5 years, though, it was the injuries to DelPo that have really assisted Djokovic in being dominant. Djokovic took full advantage and kudos to him for that – but the fact is, his main rival in 2012, 2014 and 2015 was 31 to 34 years of age over that period of time. Would that Nadal and Federer could have said the same in their peak years!

RZ Says:

Yay! Andy is getting closer. I’m hoping for strong showings in Paris and London.

Cheers, hugs, and high fives to 1st and 2nd tier Andy fans.

Willow Says:

Miles i like your post, but be careful, as you need to be ready for the acid bath that might come your way lol ….

kjb Says:

@CF1 “2011 happened. Considering Federer and Nadal were in their peak years, this was likely the greatest year a player had”

Ya, Fed was in his peak years in 2011 at 30 years old. hahaha.

Danica Says:

Hey staff, there’s no article about the finals and Andy winning?! Or I’m missing something. I believe Andy deserves his section at the opening page with write ups about him just like N, R and R have.

Congrats to the Andy fans and supporters on the win. To me, this seams like the most interesting stretch of the season. Race for #1 quite alive.

Danica Says:

[Hate this phone]

Markus Says:

It does not matter much to me if Andy Murray overtakes Djokovic this year. What matters is that he is ending it on a good note. Djokovic may be a bit off towatds the end but with two majors and completing a career slam, his is still the best performance this year. Well done and congratulations to both for a great year.

AndyMira Says:

Yeah,agree with Dani and TV…yesterday,before the final..usually Sean has a thread called PICK AND PICK YOUR WINNER TO YOUR HEART DESIRE already,but strangely,it’s not there..This is the 1st time i think,for the ATP 1000 masters final..there was no thread as such..Luckily for me,i’ve already pick my heart desire for a winner in one of the thread the day before the final…And thank God,my pick has won but strange isn’t it guys?But,that’s alright “Chubby Chappy”…YOU’VE WON!!WOOOHOOO!!!!

chrisford1 Says:

kjb – Federer was still in his prime at 29, when he started 2011. At 30, after regaining #1 briefly, he said he was never better.
I blame myself for confusing you with talk of peak years. He peak was clearly 2004-2007, age 23 to 26. But that ended when Nadal and to a slight lesser extent, Djokovic arrived in 2008 in full form. Instead of peak, think prime years, though Roger maintained his peak went on into 2012, despite what Rafa did to him..

Daniel Says:

Which 3 tourneys Murray is scheduled to play? I thought he was only playing Paris and WTF, is he playing Basel or Vienna?

Van Persie Says:


AndyMira Says:

@Daniel…Andy will play Vienna next week..

[Sorry to Andy fans whom i love very much,i answered Daniel instead of you guys..]

AndyMira Says:

Opps sorry,i didn’t know VP answered Daniel’s first!Ha ha ha..

Van Persie Says:

Lol AM, was posting at the same time with you

Van Persie Says:

cannot sleep very well, as Andy is now a big threat for Djoko so had a look at TX while having a smoke ;)
Going back to bed, AM. See ya!

AndyMira Says:

VP,Hi sweetie..I’m surprised you still wake up..No worries about Nole please VP..There must be ups and downs in athlete’s life..It’s normal..I think everything start to take it’s toll on Nole,whether physically and mentally..But he still a beast to me..a champion that still can produce the best even he’s not in perfect shape atm..I always enjoyed watch him played..And i’m rambling by myself since you’re already in bed!Ha ha ha..

Van Persie Says:

AM, was joking a bit ;). Not that worried about Novak after all. He had 2 tight years. He has earned this break down.
Just had a strong espresso in the afternoon, hence a bad sleep now

AndyMira Says:

VP..I knew you’re a very smart and genius young women..He he..

Okiegal Says:

Congratulations Andy fans! I finally got to see the match! Tight first set but it was curtains for Agut in the second. Andy is on a mission and good for him. Novak will be back, I just think he’s a bit fatigued.

Van Persie Says:

Thanks AM, but there is no reason to exagerate :D

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