Doha Open: Bautista Agut books birth in finals, to fight against Basilashivili


Roberto Bautista Agut has booked himself the spot in the finals after he dispatched Karen Khachanov 2-6, 6-3, 7-5 on Friday at the Qatar Open under the lights in Doha. 

The Spaniard produced an intense and aggressive performance, overcoming the Russian in two hours and 26 minutes to reach the final at the ATP 250 event for the second consecutive year.

“The atmosphere was unbelievable,” Bautista Agut said in his on-court interview. “I want to give a lot of credit to Karen, he was playing unbelievably. I had to fight really hard to turn the score around. It was a really tough match.”

The second seed found his range as the match went on, with the key turning point coming in the third game of the second set when Bautista Agut fended off seven breakpoints in a mammoth game to hold. From there, World No. 16 put his foot down and raised his level deep in the third set, breaking at 5-5 with a powerful smash, before holding to seal his win.

The 33-year-old, who overcame Andy Murray and Alejandro Davidovich Fokina for the loss of just three games in his opening two matches, now leads Khachanov 6-2 in their ATP head-to-head series.

Bautista Agut has strong pedigree in Doha, having lifted the title in 2019 and reached the final last season. The Spaniard will be aiming to capture his first tour-level crown since he triumphed in Doha three years ago when he faces Nikoloz Basilashivili in a repeat of last year’s championship match on Saturday.

Earlier, Basilashvili continued his love affair with the Qatar Open, soaring into the final for the second consecutive year with a 6-4, 6-2 win over Frenchman Arthur Rinderknech. (ANI)


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