Just two days after his straight-sets win against World No. 2 Daniil Medvedev, Roberto Bautista Agut’s bid to reach his second ATP Masters 1000 final ended on Friday at the Miami Open presented by Itau.
The Spaniard fell in three sets to 19-year-old Jannik Sinner, who became only the fourth teenager — after Andre Agassi (1990), Rafael Nadal (2005) and Novak Djokovic (2007) — to reach a Miami final in the tournament’s 36-year history. When asked about Sinner’s future in the sport, Bautista Agut heaped praise on the two-time ATP Tour titlist.
“He has a great future coming up. He has everything,” said Bautista Agut. “He has a big serve, he’s tall, he’s big, he moves well, he has very good groundstrokes, mentally he’s also great and improving. He has a great future coming up.”[WATCH LIVE 1]
Bautista Agut has reached 18 ATP Tour championship matches (9-9) during his 16 years as a professional, but his greater experience has yet to help him achieve success against the #NextGenATP Italian. Sinner’s devastating groundstrokes often grab the headlines, but perhaps the most crucial aspect of the World No. 31’s game is his mental strength. Sinner’s quarter-final opponent, Alexander Bublik, was so impressed by his opponent’s mentality that he asked Sinner if he was human at the conclusion of their match.
Sinner has showcased his winning mentality against Bautista Agut this month across two ATP Head2Head encounters. The San Candido native also beat Bautista Agut in three sets just two weeks ago at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.
“Of course, he’s good. [In] both matches [I] have the feeling I could [have] won both times, but finally I didn’t. I think he has something special in tough moments,” said Bautista Agut. “Today, I had chances in the second set, chances in the third set. He’s a great player, [a] great competitor, and I will try to beat him the next time.”
Bautista Agut is correct in his assessment. He did have his chances. The most clear-cut opportunity for the 32-year-old came at 3-3 in the second set, when he held a 40/0 advantage on Sinner’s serve.
The World No. 12 made an error of judgement on his first break point, when he elected to leave a Sinner crosscourt backhand. The ball landed on the line and Sinner saved a total of four break points in that game to keep himself ahead in the score.
“I thought that ball was going out and finally [it] touched the line [by] one millimetre. Tennis sometimes is crazy,” said Bautista Agut. “Sometimes it’s like this, and one ball can make a big difference on the match… I had four break points in this game and today was not my day. I have to congratulate him, because he came back well in the second set and in the third set.”
Bautista Agut has compiled a 12-8 record this season, which includes final appearances at the Open Sud de France (l. to Goffin) and the Qatar ExxonMobil Open (l. to Basilashvili). The nine-time ATP Tour titlist was appearing in his first Masters 1000 semi-final since the 2020 Western & Southern Open (l. to Djokovic). En route to the final four in Miami, Bautista Agut beat 31st seed Jan-Lennard Struff, 2018 champion John Isner and top seed Medvedev.