Wimbledon: Djokovic beats Bautista Agut, reaches sixth final

Novak Djokovic outlasts a spirited Roberto Bautista-Agut in four sets to reach his sixth Wimbledon final. He will play Rafael Nadal or Roger Federer for the title on Sunday.

Novak Djokovic and Roberto Bautista Agut meet in the Wimbledon 2019 semifinals.   -  Getty Images

 

DJOKOVIC IS THROUGH TO THE WIMBLEDON FINAL! That's his sixth Wimbledon final and his second of three Grand Slams this year. His game initially had errors but he rectified them midway through the match and was almost unplayable in the fourth set.

Novak won 118-102 points, or, in terms of percentages, 54% to 46%.

Most Men's Singles Grand Slam finals: Roger Federer 30, Rafael Nadal 26 and Novak Djokovic 25.

GAME SET MATCH. A forehand cross-court shot takes him to 15-0 and hen then follows it up with ace to go 30-0 up. Augt takes a point but Djokovic reaches Augt's high return and slams it to get to match point. The Spaniard works Djokovic across the court, which sees him tumble while getting to a return. 40-30 but the top seed still has a match point. Augt takes the next point with a brilliant down the line forehand to get to deuce. Augt goes wide on the return giving Djokovic another match point but the Serb goes wide with a cross-court forehand and we are back to deuce again. Djokovic with an ace from his second serve and he has another match point. Augt's return from the serve goes into the nest, sealing the game for the world number 1.

8:22pm: Augt might have a mountain to climb but he making Djokovic earn his place in the final. He also holds to love, makes it 5-2 in the set which means Djokovic will now serve for the match.

8:20pm: Djokovic is sailing through now. Almost unplayable serves takes to a 40-0 and then the serve and volley sees him take a 5-1 lead. Augt will now serve to stay in the game.

8:17pm: Augt goes long, wide and then sees his drop shot fall inside his own half, which gives Djokovic a break point and the Serb seals that game after Augt nets his backhand. He leads 4-1 and is two games away from the final.

The previous two times Djokovic played Augt in a major, he won in four sets. And looks like he might do that again.

8:13pm: If Djokovic's defence was excellent in the previous games, he works Augt at the baseline and seals the game to love. He leads 3-1 in the third set.

8:10pm: At 30-30, Djokovic races to the net to meet Augt's drop shot with one of his own and but the Spaniard hits his return high and long. On a break point, the top seed does not make a mistake now. At the fourth time of asking in this set, he break Augt with a cross-court forehand winner.

8:05pm: Djokovic with a much easier time at holding his serve. At 30-30, Djokovic uses the famed forehand of his and goes on level terms in the set.

8:03pm: Djokovic seems to be everywhere on returns but Bautista Augt digs deep, saves three break points and wins the game.

Djokovic took an early lead on Roberto Bautista Agut's serve. He got an early break but Augt saves with a backhand volley. The Serb gets another break with a vicious volley but Augt replies with a volley of his own to save the break point. Djokovic then gets a third break point after Bautista Agut's half volley goes wide. Augt then pickes the serve and volley to seal the game. Djokovic is frustrated but he acknowledges his opponent's resolve. That game was 11 minutes long!

7:46pm: Novak Djokovic wins the third set and leads 6-2, 4-6, 6-3.

He's back in his element, it looks like. That unending rally in the previous game to save the second break point must have injected him with belief. Agut will be kicking himself for spurning his chance. You can't let the Djoker get comfortable and confident.

Set 3 stats: Djokovic - 13 winners, 8 unforced errors; Bautista Augt - 8 winners, 5 unforced errors

7:40pm: Another hold and another scream from Djokovic.

That's after a chance to break back for Agut. Djokovic in 15-40 down but saves both break points, the second a 45-shot rally - the highlight of the game. It's the same story. Both comfortable at the baseline, waiting to see who will blink first. Eventually Djokovic catches Agut off guard and send a forehand down the line. He puts his finger on his ear looking at the crowd. He knows they love it and all he wants is the love. Agut hits a return long and now he's serving to stay in the set.

 

7:34pm: Djokovic breaks to lead 4-2 in the third set. Djokovic slams an overhead volley into the ground to break and lets it known to the crowd. He lets out a scream while punching the air, venting all the frustrations that have mounted over the last set and half of this. He's back in control now.

7:31pm: The points are not coming easy for Djokovic. He's making a lot of mistakes too, maybe not a lot but more than what we're used to seeing from him. No breaks yet and he leads 3-2. A frustrated Djokovic is fun to watch if you're not a fan.

Smart one, Wimbledon.

 

7:14pm: Bautista Agut holds to level to set 1-1 and Djokovic is not happy.

The third point is a long exchange, a fierce staring contest rather. Whoever blinks loses. The play moves from the baseline to the net and Djokovic finally wins it with an overhead volley. But Agut wins the game as Djokovic - known to be the game's best returner - returns poorly. He lashes out with his racket, almost risking a fine for damaging the court, like Serena earlier in the tournament.

7:11pm: Djokovic begins with a hold. It's a beautiful point to open the third set and Agut wins it with an incredible cross court backhand after chasing down a slice from Djokovic. The world no.1 has no real problems after that.

7:04pm: We're going to be here longer than it looked at the end of the first set. Bautista Agut seals the second set 6-4. It's an unorthodox way to do it and it'll summarise Djokovic's frustrations in the set. A forehand hits the top of the net and just tumbles over into Djokovic's side. The crowd has been re-energised by Agut and Djokovic is asking the crowd to applaud (weird). Agut's friends, like most of us, would have thought they could make it to Ibiza later today, but the Spaniard has his priorities set.

6:54pm: A Djokovic forehand goes long and that gives Bautista Agut a 5-3 lead in the second set. Now Djokovic is under pressure to hold and stay in the set.

6:52pm: Djokovic manages to hold but yet again it's not as easy as it was in the first set. He was in control at 40-15, but Bautista Agut makes his way to deuce. A change of racket for Djokovic. In the end it's down to Agut's mistakes but he leads 3-4 in the second set.

6:42pm: Quite a turnaround in this match. Agut has stepped it up and holds to love to take a second set lead of 4-2.

6:35pm: Djokovic holds but it's not all going right for him. He sends a forehand long and Agut gets on another break point in the set. Djokovic saves both, the first as Agut plays a simple shot wide and the second with an ace. On deuce, the rally goes long and ends as Agut sends a bakhand wide. Djokovic wins the game and makes it 2-3 in the second set with a good serve.

6:34pm: Pause. Someone in the crowd seems to have fallen ill. The stewards and paramedics are on it. And we're back after a brief hiatus. Could that stop Agut's momentum?

6:29pm: Agut leads 3-1 in the second set. Djokovic tries to slow it down and buy a bit of time by lobbing it high in the air. But Agut dispatches it with his forehand, straight down the line, with a chance to go 3-1 up. And with a brilliant serve, he takes it.

6:27pm: BREAKS! Bautista Agut, with a delicious forehand across the court, leaves Djokovic standing at the baseline and breaks the world no.1 to lead 2-1 in the second set.  Errors creeping into Djokovic's game.

6:21pm: The story is no different yet. Djokovic holds to love in the first game of the second set.

It's a capacity crowd at centre court (why wouldn't it be?) and there are quite a few recognisable faces. The football fan in me recognises a few better than the rest.

Spotted: Former Manchester United manager and one of the greatest of all time, Sir Alex Ferguson is with his daughter in law Fiona at the All England Club.

Scouting talent at Wimbledon.   -  Getty Images

TAA

And there's always this guy

 

6:16pm: Djokovic wins the first set 6-2 after a hugley impressive 36 minutes from the world no.1. You know he means business when he plays like this. He's taking the points deep and is looking unbreakable. It was a great serve on the last point from Agut, but Djokovic managed to return and when Agut should have closed off the point with a winner, he played it long and that's also been part of the story so far. His unforced errors.

But no worries yet, Agut lost the first sets in both the matches he won against Djokovic this year.

6:12pm: It's an easy hold for Djokovic. He finishes off with an ace down the middle and holds to love. He leads 5-2 as Bautista Agut serves to stay in the set.

6:10pm: Agut holds again and his friends, who were also supposed to be with him in Ibiza, or on their feet. Why wouldn't they be?  Djokovic took the game to deuce as he lobbed over Agut's head and volleyed at the net to finish off the point. But the Spaniard is starting to make his serves count.

6:03pm: With an ace down the middle, Djokovic holds and goes 4-1 up in the first set. Agut is slowly seeming to grow into the game. It might have been nerves, but he's making lesser mistakes now and better shots now - one making Djokovic slip on court.  He's not going to let the world no.1 walk over this one.

5:55pm: He's one of the best returners in the game and it's showing. Djokovic is putting a lot of pressure of Agut's serves and the unforced errors aren't helping the Spaniard. A good serve, followed by a long forehand from Djokovic, gets Agut off the mark in the first set. Djokovic leads 3-1.

5:52pm: Djokovic has held again and goes 3-0 up in the first set! All those unforced errors are costing Agut. He's already on 10. The crowd's behind him though.

5:45pm: Djokovic has broken early! Agut plays a forehand gone long and Djokovic leads 2-0. Too many unforced errors deep into rallies from the Spaniard.

5:43pm: Djokovic holds to take the first game of the match. Expect to see long and drawn out rallies. Agut isn't concerned though.

“Djokovic is very solid from baseline. He likes to play a lot of rallies,” Bautista Agut said. “Well, I like to play against (an) opponent like this, to play a match with a lot of rallies. Against Novak, that’s what we do.”

5:41pm: And we're good to go! Djokovic top serve. Agut wins the first point.

5:33pm: Djokovic and Bautista Agut are on court.

 

5:20pm: We have the first ever quad wheelchair champions at Wimbledon. Andy Lapthorne and Dylan Alcott beat Koji Sugeno and David Wagner 6-2, 7-6 (4).

 

Preview

All the talk is about the big match - Roger Federer vs Rafael Nadal. But before we get to that, who's going to meet one of them in the final has to be decided.

World No.1 Djokovic is into yet another Grand Slam semifinal and the defending champion at Wimbledon is bidding to reach his second consecutive final. However, he does only need to look back a few months to remind himself that he should not underestimate his opponent. Roberto Bautista Agut has beaten Djokovic in both their meetings this year - albeit on hard court - first in the semifinals in Doha and then in the round of 16 in Miami.

Djokovic, who is hunting down a 16th Grand Slam, is wary of the threat on grass as well, but feels his experience in Slams will come in handy.

“The ball bounces lower on the grass, which is I think more suitable to his style of the game. He doesn’t like when the ball bounces higher to his backhand,” Djokovic said. “Obviously playing on grass, it’s different. Semifinals of Grand Slam, (I’m) going to try to use my experience in being in these kind of matches.”

Bautista Agut was supposed to be in Ibiza right now, having a mad time at his bachelor party. Instead he's at the much sober All England Club, trying to reach a first Grand Slam final. But he'd rather be here and is relishing the Djokovic challenge.

"I had planned to be in Ibiza right now. We had everything organised already. My friends, six of them, are all there,” the Castellon native, seeded 23, told reporters. “Well, it feels better to be here in London. They are coming to London. I think they will fly on Friday.”

“Djokovic is very solid from baseline. He likes to play a lot of rallies,” Bautista Agut said. “Well, I like to play against (an) opponent like this, to play a match with a lot of rallies. Against Novak, that’s what we do.”

Is Bautista Agut Djokvic's kryptonite?