Hard work, but Djokovic reaches U.S. Open quarters

Mon Sep 7, 2015 12:06am EDT
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By Larry Fine

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Top seed Novak Djokovic was made to work hard by Spain's Roberto Bautista Agut before he posted a 6-3 4-6 6-4 6-3 win at the U.S. Open on Sunday, moving him into his 26th consecutive grand slam quarter-final.

After Djokovic won an opening-set groundstroke battle with steady accuracy and well chosen forays to the net, Bautista Agut used his big forehand to come back from 4-2 down in the second and win the next four games to level the match.

The world number one smashed his racquet after losing the second set but made better use of its replacement, winning the third following a service break in the fifth game, before raising his performances in the fourth set to claim victory.

"I was upset with myself," said Djokovic. "But I managed to regroup. The important thing is that I managed to find a way to win."

The Spaniard unleashed 34 winners, including 22 from the forehand, but came up short in a quest to reach his first grand slam quarter-final.

"I wanted to play a fifth (set)," the 23rd-ranked Bautista Agut said. "I think I played great tennis and I enjoyed it on the court.

"I think sometimes I felt he was not comfortable on the court. I was moving him a lot and that's what I wanted before the match."

Djokovic commended him on his play.   Continued...

Serbia's Novak Djokovic celebrates victory over Spain's Roberto Bautista Agut in their fourth round match at the U.S. Open Championships tennis tournament in New York, September 6, 2015. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz