Spanish tennis star Roberto Bautista Agut praised John Isner after a tight battle between the two at the Miami Masters.
Bautista Agut, seeded at No. 7, edged out No. 18 seed Isner 6-3 4-6 7-6 (7) to reach the Miami Masters quarterfinal.
Bautista Agut, ranked at No. 12 in the world, made his second Miami quarterfinal following the Isner win.
“John is a good friend on the Tour. He always makes matches difficult,” said Bautista Agut, per the ATP website. “He has a very big serve and a lot of power from baseline with the forehand. It makes it always difficult.”
Bautista Agut saved a match point
Bautista Agut made a great start to the match, having broken Isner twice in the first set to easily win the opener.
But Isner responded as he broke Bautista Agut in the fifth game of the second set, before serving out for a decider in the 10th game.
In the third set tie-break, Bautista Agut saved a match point before converting his second match point.
“I think I played a brilliant set [in] the first set, and then with John you feel always under pressure,” said Bautista Agut. “He [broke me] with [a] backhand down the line and then the match changed. It was a really tough fight until the last point.”
Isner, the 2018 Miami champion, was hoping to win again Miami in the absence of Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer.
“In a sense, it’s a good litmus test as to how people perceive this event without those three guys, because of course they won’t be playing forever. I think it’s a unique opportunity for a lot of players to try to do well in this event without them in the field. It’s also a unique opportunity to try to showcase all the players that aren’t Roger, Rafa and Novak,” Isner said on how it feelt to be in Miami without the Big Three.