Bautista stays halfway through the comeback against Fritz

Roberto Bautista has lost in the last three years the good direction he usually took at the Australian Open, a tournament whose conditions are well suited to his type of game, as he himself usually admits. But since he was a quarterfinalist in 2019 after eliminating, among others, Andy Murray, he has not gone beyond the third round. In 2020 he reached it and in 2021 he stayed in the first because of the Moldovan Albot. He arrived at this edition with very good feelings, after his great performance in the ATP, but This Saturday Taylor Fritz cut him off from the round of 16 in a tough match resolved in five sets: 6-0, 3-6, 3-6, 6-4 and 6-3 in 3h14. The 24-year-old American and 22nd in the world, whom the Spaniard had won in five of his six previous clashes, He will face Stefanos Tsitsipas on Monday, who vindicated himself with an encouraging victory against Benoit Paire. The Greek, a semi-finalist last year, beat the Frenchman 6-3, 7-5. 6-7 (2) and 6-4 in 2h42.

Bautista, somewhat annoying in a very noisy track where music from outside is heard, such as the KIA Arena, and damned for the Navy (Munar and Davidovich fell there before), he stayed halfway back and paid for a horrendous start to the match, full of errors for which he conceded a donut. Later, the player from Castellón recovered his usual solidity from the back of the court and was more aggressive to attack Fritz’s second serves, the weak point of a tennis player who shines with first serves (19 aces). The problem for Roberto was that he almost always struggled to secure his services in a match in which there were many breaks (10 from the American and seven from Bautista).

When he took the initiative, as is typical of his style, he did not let go and did damage, but in the fourth set, after recovering from two breaks, he was not able to consolidate his breaks and Fritz stepped up, served safely and was incisive with the drive. In this way he reached the round of 16 in a Grand Slam for the first time. If Rober had succeeded, he would have been tied at 13 with Carlos Moyá for seventh place on the list of Spaniards with the most appearances in the round of 16 majors. Maybe next time.

Australian Open Men’s Draw.

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