Djokovic battles past Bautista Agut to reach sixth Wimbledon final
Defending champion Novak Djokovic reached his sixth Wimbledon final after overcoming a stern test from 23rd seed Roberto Bautista Agut in four sets.
The four-time Wimbledon champion, who is chasing a 16th Grand Slam, prevailed 6-2 4-6 6-3 6-2 to book his spot in Sunday’s final, where he will face either Roger Federer or Rafael Nadal – the only two players who sit above him in the men’s all-time singles list.
"This has been the dream tournament for me since I was a child so to be in another final is a dream come true. Regardless of how many finals I’ve been in, I will definitely enjoy that experience,” he told the BBC.
"I had to dig deep, it’s the semi-finals. He was not overwhelmed with the occasion and played really well. First set he was managing his nerves but later on he established himself, played better and placed his serves nicely.
"I got a bit tight, it was a close opening four/five games of the third set, it could have gone both ways but I’m glad it went my way.
"Of course I will watch it [Federer-Nadal]. My coaches will see the whole match, I’ll see parts of it. I’m a fan of that match-up as well, one of the most epic rivalries so it’s fantastic to see them play today.”
Bautista Agut, playing in his first Grand Slam semi-final, had won their two 2019 meetings heading into encounter, but world number one Djokovic made an imperious start on Centre Court, racing to a 3-0 lead.
The 32-year-old broke again to wrap the first set up in 37 minutes, but any fears this would soon turn into a non-contest were quashed in the following set.
Bautista Agut, whose friends watched on from his corner after he was forced to postpone his own Ibiza stag do when unexpectedly reaching the last four, recovered from dropping only his second set of the tournament to convert his first break point and eventually levelled the match after not offering Djokovic an opportunity to hit back.
Novak Djokovic is into the Wimbledon finalGetty Images
Signs of frustration were creeping in from Djokovic as Bautista Agut continued to match his level in the third set, but the Serbian dug deep to break in the sixth game and then save two break points the game after, the second coming after a remarkable 45-shot rally. The longest point since Wimbledon records began in 2005.
Djokovic closed out the set and looked to motor ahead in the fourth, but Bautista Agut valiantly saved three break points in an opening game featuring five deuces.
However, Bautista Agut’s resolve was broken two games later, with Djokovic going on to break one more time to seal victory after almost three hours on court, but only after converting his fifth match point after a length eighth game.