Bautista reaches 50 grass-court wins heading into Wimbledon 4R

The Spaniard reaches the second week in London for the fifth time

July 06, 2024

BEN STANSALL/AFP via Getty Images

Roberto Bautista Agut had not won three consecutive main draw matches this season until now.
By ATPTour.com/es Staff

Few Spaniards – apart from Feliciano López – have felt as comfortable on grass as Roberto Bautista Agut, a player who has managed to get the most out of the surface on which the fewest matches are played each year.

The 36-year-old from Castellón defeated Fabio Fognini 7-6(6), 3-6, 5-7, 7-6(1), 6-4, in four hours and 26 minutes, in a match whose start was delayed due to rain and had to be suspended on Friday afternoon for the same reason and finished 24 hours later.

In this way, Bautista Agut secured his presence in the fourth round of Wimbledon for the fifth time in his career (2015, 2017, 2019, 2021, 2024), equaling the record with his compatriots David Ferrer and Fernando Verdasco.

Spaniards with the most appearances in Wimbledon’s 4R
Rafael Nadal: 10

Feliciano Lopez: 6

David Ferrer: 5

Fernando Verdasco: 5

Roberto Bautista: 5

In addition to the second week of the Grand Slam on grass, the 50 victories on the surface raise his success percentage on the same to 69.4%. On green, it is not where he has played the most, nor where he has won the most titles (one, compared to two on clay and eight on hard), but it is where he has shone the most in the majors (SF at Wimbledon 2019).

And on this 2024 tour he has taken advantage of his time on grass to achieve the most outstanding result of the season. In London, it is the first time this season that he has had three consecutive victories in a main draw, after beating Maximilian Marterer (first round), Lorenzo Sonego (second round) and Fognini himself (third round).

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The challenge was not easy, because Bautista had on the other side of the net a player who had dominated the Lexus ATP Head2Head by 7-3 and, in addition, had beaten him in their last two head-to-head matches (both on clay). The debut of the rivalry on grass went to the hands of the Spaniard.

He took the lead in a close opening set with no breaks, which was decided in a tie-break. Fognini was leading 1-4 in the tie-break, but the Castellón native managed to find a way to turn it around. The Italian, on the other hand, had to wait until his eighth break opportunity to sign the first break of the match. He did so to take a 5-3 lead in the second set, which he did not waste to close out with his serve.

Bautista did not give up and soon found himself with a 3-0 lead. But it was a mirage, because Fognini pulled one back to equalise the third set, which was a succession of opportunities for both sides. The Spaniard had two points to close the set with 4-5, 15/40, but the Italian not only escaped the danger, but added three games in a row (7-5).

When the match seemed close to reaching its conclusion, the rain appeared to stop the match with the score at 6-7(6), 6-3, 7-5, 4-5. The match had to wait until the clock passed 3:00 pm the next day for the protagonists to return to Court 16 to decide the winner. And in the resumption, they managed to force a fifth set.

Bautista was the one who managed to finish the pending work, resisting the 23 aces – and 87 winning shots – that his rival added, converting his fifth break (in 16 opportunities) in the ninth game of the fifth set, which was decisive for advancing to the round of 16, where Tommy Paul awaits him.

The American, seeded No. 12, was the first player in the tournament to reach the fourth round, defeating Alexander Bublik 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 in one hour and 25 minutes.

The world No. 13 came into Wimbledon as the reigning champion at Queen’s – the biggest title of his career and first on grass – and has now racked up eight consecutive wins on the surface.

For the second time in his career in the round of 16, Paul will try to break his ceiling in SW19 against the Spaniard, with whom he maintains a Lexus ATP Head2Head of 2-3. However, the American has won the two most recent duels.

Did you know…?

At 36 years and 91 days, Roberto Bautista Agut became the ninth player in the Open Era to reach the fourth round at Wimbledon at 36 years of age or older.

Source: https://www.atptour.com/es/news/wimbledon-2024-viernes-tercera-ronda-bautista-fognini-paul-bublik

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