Novak Djokovic in the first round-robin match at the 2019 Nitto ATP Finals, London
Novak Djokovic in the first round-robin match at the 2019 Nitto ATP Finals, London | (Photo by TPN/Getty Images)

Tennis | Western & Southern Open | Men’s singles semi-finals preview

  • Novak Djokovic, unbeaten in 2020, will face Roberto Bautista Agut in his 68th Masters 1000 semifinal
  • The Spaniard is one of five players to beat him at leas three times when he was ranked No.1
  • In his fifth Masters 1000 semifinal, Stefanos Tsitsipas will try to extract revenge over Milos Raonic
NEW YORK, USA – Unbeaten Novak Djokovic will meet Roberto Bautista Agut in his record eight semifinal at the Western & Southern Open. Stefanos Tsitsipas bids to revenge the defeat to Milos Raonic at the Australian Open


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Novak Djokovic [1] v Roberto Bautista Agut [8] | Djokovic H2H leads 8-3

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After yesterday’s straight set win over Jan-Lennard Struff, Novak Djokovic is now 21-0 (all on hard), 9-0 in tiebreaks and 7-0 against Top 10 players in 2020. The World No. 1 has yet to drop a set in the tournament. Playing in his 84th Masters 1000 quarter-final, he failed to serve out the match at 5-0 in the second set, but claimed a love service break in the following game to move closer to his 80th Tour-level title.

The Serbian claimed his eighth semi-final at the Western & Southern Open and tied the all-time tournament record with Jimmy Connors, Stefan Edberg, Roger Federer and Bill Talbert. Seeking his second Western & Southern Open trophy after completing the Career Golden Masters at the event in 2018, the Serbian will face Roberto Bautista Agut. In his seventh career ATP Masters 1000 quarterfinal, the Spaniard beat No. 3 seed and defending champion Daniil Medvedev.

The extremely resilient Bautista Agut tried to do some different things, to mix up a little bit with the slice when he was down against the Russian. He played some great volleys, too, to complete a stunning turnaround. It won’t be an easy task for the World No.1. He leads Bautista Agut 8-3 in their Head2Head, but has lost his past three hard-court encounters against his next opponent. Bautista collected those wins, the biggest in his career, in the semi-finals at 2016 ATP Masters 1000 in Shanghai, Doha 2019, and in the fourth-round last year in Miami. He’s one of five players to beat Djokovic at least three times when he was ranked No. 1.

Prediction: Djokovic in three sets.


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Stefanos Tsitsipas [4] v Milos Raonic | Raonic leads H2H 1-0

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Former World No.3 Milos Raonic scored straight-set victories in the tournament against Sam Querrey, Dan Evans and Andy Murray, then he needed to raise his aggression level after saving a match-point in a tight quarterfinal clash to beat Filip Krajinovic. Raonic is now 18-6 at the Western & Southern Open, where he reached his third semi-final. The World No. 30 is pursuing his first Masters 1000 title having lost the championship match at the 2013 Coupe Rogers, the 2014 Rolex Paris Masters and the 2016 BNP Paribas Open.

He began the season without dropping his serve en route to his fifth Australian Open quarter-final where he lost to eight-time champion Djokovic. In that campaign, he dismissed Stefanos Tsitsipas in straight-sets in their lone previous meeting. During that match, the Canadian was definitely untouchable on serve. He delivered 19 aces, won 88% of first-serve points and 58% of second-serve points. He never conceded a break point, and clinically dismantled his opponent’s game. In January, Raonic had 32 more winners than the Greek, 55 to Tsitsipas’ 23 and won 70% of his 41 net approaches.

In New York, the Canadian looked perfectly able to hit massive forehands from all over the court and Tsitsipas struggled to anticipate the Canadian’s shot placement. In New York, he countered Kevin Anderson and John Isner, two of the best servers on Tour, before facing Reilly Opelka who had to retire towards the end of the opening set. So, he got used to almost unreturnable first serves as he managed to advance to his fifth ATP Masters 1000 semi-final. He will need all his anticipation to gain time on the ball. Otherwise his crafty shots could be ineffective.

Prediction: Raonic in three sets.


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