ATP Cincinnati (New York) – Bautista-Agut vs Djokovic

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Bautista-Agut vs Djokovic (Approx 04:30am AEST)

For those who read my outright preview for Betfair, the only two players that appealed to me in terms of opposing Novak Djokovic this week were Stefanos Tsitsipas and…Roberto Bautista-Agut. 

One key area where I have been perhaps a touch critical of in the past in terms of the Spaniard is his stubbornness when his Plan A hasn’t worked. What I loved to see in his quarter final against Medvedev was the fact that he was willing to change things up a little bit, and be more aggressive when the circumstances allowed. It was the highlight out of three pretty solid wins for the week, having taken down Gasquet, Khachanov and Medvedev so far.

One of the big differences in the game of Djokovic in 2020 has been the increased aggression behind his second serve. It is great to see a player as accomplished as Djokovic look to make such a change in his game, as he looks to find any way to take his game to another level. These changes are quite easy to implement against players like Berankis, Sandgren and Struff, as their return of serve is not considered to be elite. It was also helped in the quarter final by the fact he only needed to serve 15 second serves for the match. Three of those were double faults, however it is worth noting that he won 9/12 that he put into play. The question is: how does it stand up today?

Whilst it might sound a little outlandish to think that Djokovic doesn’t care entirely for a Masters 1000, the performance from him late in his match against Stefanos Tsitsipas in the Shanghai Masters 1000 tournament suggests that motivation at levels below a Grand Slam can be lacking at times. With his neck issues earlier in the week, and a relatively soft draw to start the US Open, I am happy to go against Novak at the short head to head price today.  The last time he played in the week before a grand slam was Eastbourne in 2017, where Novak won the title but retired due to injury during his quest for a title at Wimbledon. This match being pushed back a day, meaning the final could come two days before a Round 1 US Open match also isn’t something I feel Djokovic would have been in favour of for the week, even if it was the correct move. It is also worth mentioning that Bautista-Agut has won the last 3 hardcourt meetings between the pair, so the Spaniard will certainly have the belief in his ability to get the job done in this one. 

Again, as I have highlighted a couple of times when taking longer odds, I bet based on value and not confidence level. I am placing 1.5 units on Bautista-Agut to win. Whilst it would be a surprise, I would prefer to take the Spaniard that would pay out on completion of set 1 if a retirement were to occur either way. An alternative, higher win probability selection would be the total going over 20.5 games.

I don’t see any value in the other three matches scheduled today for singles, and the closest play to becoming a selection from that group was Tsitsipas -2 games vs Raonic.

Suggested Bet

1.5 units Bautista-Agut to defeat Djokovic at $5.90 (+490) at Topsport



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