A tenacious Roberto Bautista Agut battled back to beat world number one Novak Djokovic 1-6 7-5 6-3 and advance to the quarter-finals of the Miami Open on Tuesday as the Spaniard claimed his second win over the Serb this year.
Six-times champion Djokovic blasted the 22nd seed off the court in the opening set but Bautista Agut grew more aggressive in the second, stepping in to take his second serves early and baiting his opponent into extended rallies.
Another big server, sixth seeded South African Kevin Anderson, saw off Australia’s Jordan Thompson 7-5 7-5 in the evening match.
Swiss fourth seed Roger Federer will cap the night session when he faces Russia’s Daniil Medvedev.
The tide turned in Bautista Agut’s favour in the third when, after both players exchanged service breaks, an uncharacteristically sloppy Djokovic sent a backhand wide to fall behind 4-2.
Three games later Bautista Agut smacked a forehand winner down the line to seal the win, which was reminiscent of Bautista Agut’s come-from-behind victory over Djokovic in the semi-finals of the Qatar Open in January.
The loss capped a disappointing trip through the U.S. for Djokovic, who fell in straight sets to Philipp Kohlschreiber in the third round of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells earlier this month.
Next up for Bautista Agut is a quarter-final date with defending champion John Isner, who was a 7-6(5) 7-6(3) winner over Britain’s Kyle Edmund earlier in the day.
Nick Kyrgios continued to mix the obscene with the sublime as he bowed out of the tournament at the hands of Borna Coric.
The Australian produced perhaps the shot of the tournament early in his 4-6 6-3 6-2 loss to the 11th seed but was given a point penalty for an audible obscenity apparently directed at a spectator that put him down a double break in the third.
Kyrgios has made headlines all week in Miami for his controversial underhanded serves, a verbal spat with a spectator who was heckling him, and for firing off an expletive-laden rant at an umpire during a doubles match.
Trailing 3-1 in the opening set to Coric, Kyrgios looked energised when, after sending a no-look volley over the net, he charged toward the back corner of the court where he executed an audacious ‘tweener’ that caught a flat-footed Coric off guard.
While the 27th-seeded Australian picked up his game it proved only temporary as Coric coolly regained control before securing victory to draw level in four career head-to-head meetings with Kyrgios.
Up next for Coric will be a clash with Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime, who beat Georgian 17th seed Nikoloz Basilashvili 7-6(4) 6-4 to become the first qualifier to reach the last eight in Miami since Guillermo Canas in 2007.
Big-serving Isner fired down 17 aces and won 81 percent of his first-serve points to reach the quarter-finals without dropping a set through three matches in Miami.
For a moment, however, it appeared the American had lost momentum after he failed to serve out the opening set while leading 5-2 and then was forced to recover from a double mini-break down in the first tiebreak.