After a tough, harrowing start to the week for Novak Djokovic, the former No. 1 appears to be back to his old self and injury free in New York this for the Cincinnati Masters.
The Serb, who struggled with a neck in his opener, was in full flight this afternoon in a blowout win over an in-form Jan-Lennard Struff 6-3, 6-1.
“It was great. I started a little bit tight in my opening couple of service games… Ever since I made that break at the beginning of the first set, I never looked back,” said Djokovic. “I really played very aggressive whenever I had the chance and I was going for my shots.”
Djokovic is now 21-0 on the year having won his last 24. Up next will not be Daniil Medvedev but rather Roberto Bautista Agut who hung on to beat the Russian 1-6, 6-4, 6-3.
Bautista Agut wwas blown out early against the steadier Medvedev. But then he raised his game in the second, yet still was behind a break at 4-3. At that point, Bautista recovered took the next three games then held on in the last game of the match to score his second win over Medvedev.
“I tried to do some different things. I tried to mix up a little bit with the slice… some great volleys and it was a fantastic match for me,” said Bautista Agut.
Bautista Agut is 3-8 against Djokovic.
“He didn’t lose a match this year. He is a great player, very solid, very aggressive and he has a lot of weapons,” said Bautista Agut. “Against him, I will try to play my best game to beat him, which is not easy. If I can play a good level, it is going to be a good match.”
Though Djokovic has lost his last three to Bautista Agut on hard courts.
”We always expect Roberto to play on a certain level,” said Djokovic. “He doesn’t drop much. He doesn’t give it away. You have to earn your points. He is so solid from the back of the court.”
Stefanos Tsitsipas got through his third straight giant, but in different fashion. His opponent today, Reilly Opelka, retired with a right knee problem at 6-5 on serve in the first set. With the US Open just days away, the 6-foot-11 Opelka might have his eyes on another prize.
In his first Cincinnati Masters semifinal, the Greek will meet Milos Raonic who saved a third set match point to deny Filip Krajinovic 4-6, 7-6(2), 7-5. The Serb was up a set and served for the match at 5-4, but failed to close the door. Raonic got back on serve and swept through the tiebreak. He saved a match point while serving in the 10th game at 4-5, and eventually stole the win to reach his third Cincinnati Masters semifinal.
CINCINNATI THURSDAY SCHEDULE
Elise Mertens (BEL) vs. Naomi Osaka (JPN)
Not Before 1:00 pm
Johanna Konta (GBR) vs. Victoria Azarenka (BLR)
Not Before 3:00 pm
Novak Djokovic (SRB) vs. Roberto Bautista Agut (ESP)
Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE) vs. Milos Raonic (CAN)
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