Cincinnati (semi-final): Novak Djokovic – Roberto Bautista

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These two former members of the circuit know each other well. They have already met 11 times.

Novak Djokovic leads in this face-off with 8 victories. Nevertheless, it should be noted that Roberto Bautista has won 2 of the last 3 matches. Ah?

Tournament history

This is Novak Djokovic’s 14th participation in this Cincinnati tournament. The Serb had lost at this level of competition last season and his best performance is a trophy lifted in 2018.

As for Roberto Bautista, he is playing this Masters 1000 for the sixth time in his career. Last season, he was out in the quarter-finals. This is the first time the Spaniard has reached this level of competition.

In this edition

To reach the last four, Novak Djokovic got rid of Ricardas Berankis, Tennys Sandgren and Jan-Lennard Struff. All this without losing a set.

Roberto Bautista, on the other hand, had a slightly more difficult match. After having beaten Richard Gasquet in 2 sets, the Spaniard had to work hard to beat Karen Khachanov and Daniil Medvedev.

Analysis

At the beginning of the week, we asked ourselves some questions about Novak Djokovic’s form. Indeed, he had a small discomfort in the neck which disturbed him a little. But the world number 1 reassured everyone by offering a level of play that only increased with each match.

Roberto Bautista had a little more trouble winning his previous matches. And yet, he showed that he could be very solid in the rallies (even the longest ones). On top of that, he has a mental strength that makes more than one player drool (and it takes it to debreak several times against Medvedev).

Concretely, Roberto Bautista proved that he could compete with most of the best players on the circuit. Moreover, the Spaniard has already stood up to Novak Djokovic: in Miami and Doha last year. We remember that the 12th in the world had been very enterprising and that he had used his aggressive forehand to dominate his opponent. I’m still drooling over it.

For this new match, I unfortunately don’t see Roberto Bautista taking the head of Novak Djokovic. Indeed, the Serb seems to be impregnable this week. In his previous matches, he has shown his ability to make some incredible comebacks. This is an important element to put forward since Bautista hasn’t been very reliable in this area of the game (and this is perhaps his biggest weakness against Djokovic). We can only remember his last match against Medvedev where the latter only managed 5 out of 20 break balls (ouch).

Roberto Bautista will indeed be able to compete in the rally. This is how he offered himself the head of Medvedev. But unlike the Russian, Novak Djokovic should be able to systematically readapt his game to destabilise the Spaniard. Variations of rhythm, aggressivity and nice effects to turn his opponent’s head. Finally, the Serb will be able to keep his cool in case he finds himself in trouble.

As you can see in terms of confidence, I’m pretty excited about a victory for Novak Djokovic. Of course, and as I say very often, high confidence does not mean that there is no risk. But Novak Djokovic really seems to me to be the best placed to get another final in this Masters 1000 in Cincinnati, which, let’s not forget, is being played at Flushing Meadows.

Prediction: Novak Djokovic wins

Low risk

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