Bautista Agut Edges Wawrinka into the SFs, a Tennis Masterclass in Basel

Bautista Agut Edges Wawrinka into the SFs, a Tennis Masterclass in Basel
Roberto Bautista Agut playing at the Gijon Open in Spain. Otober 13, 2022. Photo Courtesy: RFET/ Readl Federacion de Tenis Espanola.

Sixth seed Roberto Bautista Agut beats Stan Wawrinka to advance to the semifinals of Basel on Friday for the first time.

In their third tour-level meeting, the first since 2019, Roberto Bautista Agut prevailed over three-time Grand Slam champion Stan Wawrinka 7-5 7-6(5) after two hours and eight minutes.

Next, he will face either Dane Holger Rune or Frenchman Arthur Rinderknech at the Swiss Indoors Basel Open on Saturday.

The other semifinal will feature World No. 1 Carlos Alcaraz against third seed Felix Auger-Aliassime.

Home favorite Wawrinka found himself behind 0-2 in the opener as Bautista Agut sprinted to convert the first break point.

The Swiss couldn’t find his first serve, struggling to find his rhythm, but once he did, the third game became a hard-fought rally battle between the highly experienced players on the Basel court.

The Lausanne native raised his level, staying true to his fighting nature to save four breakpoints, holding his serve before marching to brake the Generali Open Kitzbuhel champion to take a 3-2 lead.

Wawrinka’s late surge and the Spaniard’s double break to lead at 6-5 contributed to grabbing a 7-5 win after 59 minutes.

The World No. 22 fired 14 winners, committing 11 unforced errors, winning 80 percent of his first-serve points while converting two of ten breakpoint opportunities.

The second set kicked off with the former World No. 3 on serve, and after a 13-shot rally, he jumped ahead 1-0.

As the set unfolded, there would be no room for breakpoints in an intense, high-quality matchup.

At 4-3, Wawrinka set the crowd on fire by saving two break points and holding for the lead.

Holding his nerve, 34-year-old Bautista Agut fought off a breakpoint to make things even at 4-4.

Continuing the run of form he displayed all week on home soil, Magnus Norman’s pupil held with an ace a crucial game at 6-5.

The top encounter saw the players carrying the parity into the final when the Spanish player forced a second-set tiebreak.

The former U.S. Open winner made a fast start to the tiebreaker, opening a 5-3 advantage, but a ruthless performance would hand his adversary a straight-sets victory.

The 11-time ATP titlist finished with 25 winners to 15 unforced errors, winning 80 percent of his first serve points, converting two of 14 breakpoint opportunities.

Bautista Agut reached the quarterfinals by defeating Scot Andy Murray, 6-3, 6-2 Thursday, having moved past Serbian Laslo Djere in his first round.

For his part, the Swiss player reached the quarterfinals in Basel for the sixth time in 15 appearances by battling against American Brandon Nakashima through over two hours to nail a three-set thriller.

In his opening round, he ousted second seed Casper Ruud, showing his match fitness improvement on court.

Wawrinka often writes on his social media posts a hashtag that reads ‘trust the process,’ it seems that at age 37, the process is trusting him back.

Back in September, a solid run in Metz guaranteed him a spot on his first semifinal on Tour in over two years.

On the way, he defeated the World No. 4 Daniil Medvedev at the Moselle Open.

Unfortunately, he had to retire from the match against Alexander Bublik due to a thigh injury.

The 2015 Roland Garros champion returned to action late in March at the ATP Challenger Anytech365 Andalucia Open after undergoing two foot surgeries in 2021, setting off a long recovery process.

Both players will hit the court at the Rolex Paris Masters, starting their campaigns on October 31.

Cecilia demartini
Sports Pundit staff writer @ceci_2812
Cecilia is a writer and journalist, passionate about motorsport and tennis.Her articles are published in newspapers and international online publications.

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