Novak Djokovic’s pursuit of a record seventh Miami Open ATP title ended in dramatic fashion on Tuesday as Roberto Bautista Agut surprisingly recovered from a first set destruction to win 1-6, 7-5, 6-3 and book a place in the quarter-finals.
The 30 year-old Spaniard may have beaten Djokovic on the way to winning the title in Doha earlier this year but Djokovic, a 15-time Grand Slam champion and current World Number One started like a tsunami in the last-16 encounter.
After just 25 minutes, Djokovic was 5-0 ahead and on cruise control with Bautista Agut severely struggling to keep the Serbian at bay. However, a short rain delay late in the second set allowed Bautista Agut to recover.
He returned a completely different player and at the end of an absorbing 2 hrs 29 minutes, it was Agut, seeded number 22 who emerged victorious. He will now meet defending champion, John Isner for a place in the semis.
The 31-year-old Djokovic won 68 percent of points on his first serve and 63 percent on his second, mixing up his shots superbly and blending in power to keep his opponent guessing his next shot.
A combination of his level dropping and Bautista Agut rising to the challenge saw a complete reversal in fortunes in the second set.
He broke the Serbian again 3-1 in the third set following an uncharacteristic double fault. The Spaniard took advantage of Djokovic’s faltering serve to move within two games of victory.
Serving for the match, he brought up two match points, with another forehand winner to seal one of the best comebacks of his career.