Novak Djokovic lost his second successive Masters tournament without making it to the last eight stage raising question-marks over whether off-court circumstances were affecting his game.
The Serb, who was the top seed in both Indian Wells and Miami, fell away spectacularly to Roberto Bautista-Agut, losing his fourth round encounter after clinching the first set 6-1. This was the first time he had lost a Miami Masters match after being a set up following 41 straight wins.
After winning the first set, Djokovic made it 5-5 in the second set following a 40-minute delay for rain, and then had a break-point in the 11th game of the set. Had he won that, he would have been serving for the match but instead Bautista Agut broke him to clinch the set.
The change in Bautista Agut’s game was palpable after that as he went on to complete a 1-6, 7-5, 6-3 win in two hours and 29 minutes and move into the quarter-finals.
Speaking to the media at the end of the match, Bautista Agut said:
“I played more aggressive. I tried to miss fewer balls, to be really concentrated on the beginning of the point with my serve, with my return. At the end, it worked well.”
Bautista Agut will now take on John Isner in his final-eight encounter, with the American having overcome another opponent in two tie-breakers. Isner took out the 19th seeded Kyle Edmund 7-6, 7-6 to make it 5-0 on tie-breakers win-loss record this tournament.
He had won two sets in tie-breakers in his opener, then defeated Albert Ramos-Vinolas 7-5, 7-6 before edging the British Edmund.
Isner, who is the defending champion, has not played Bautista Agut since 2016 but holds a 2-1 head to head record against him and will have a good chance of making it to the last-four stage.