World No. 1 Djokovic Stunned by No. 24 Bautista Agut in Qatar S/F
The Serb, who lost only thrice in his last 38 matches of 2018, suffers defeat in his fourth match of the new season.
2019 has arrived with a shock for world number one Novak Djokovic.
After dominating the second half of the last season to reclaim the summit of the men’s game, the Serbian was stunned by 24th-ranked Roberto Bautista Agut in the semi-finals of the Qatar Open in Doha on Friday, 4 January.
Djokovic went down 6-3, 6-7 (6), 4-6 to the Spaniard in a high-quality contest lasting over two-and-a-half hours to suffer his first defeat of the season.
Djokovic, who won at Wimbledon and the US Open last year to take his Grand Slam count up to 14, cut a frustrated figure after being eliminated from a tournament he had won in 2016 and 2017 – but admitted that Bautista Agut was the better player on the day.
“What happened? I lost the match. That’s it. Obviously, I’m not pleased that I lost the match today, but I lost to a better player in the end.”Novak Djokovic
It was only the second time that 30-year-old Bautista Agut got the better of Djokovic in nine career meetings, a feat all the more impressive considering he was a set and a break down against the top seed.
The tie wasn’t devoid of big moments – seventh seed Bautista Agut won a gruelling point in the second set which could be a contender for the rally of the tournament.
Fatigue may have been a factor in the rare slip-up from Djokovic. Prior to Friday’s defeat, the 31-year-old had played two matches on each of the last three days in singles and doubles – spending nearly 10 hours on court.
The Serb will now turn his attention to the year’s first major, the Australian Open, which gets underway on 14 January. Six of Djokovic’s 14 Grand Slam titles have been won at Melbourne Park.
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