March 12, 2021


Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain on Thursday beat top seed Dominic Thiem of Austria in three sets to reach the semifinals at the Qatar ExxonMobil Open. Bautista, the 2019 champion in Doha, won 7-6, 2-6, 6-4 in 2 hours and 26 minutes. It was the 32-year-old Spaniard’s fourth win over Thiem in five career meetings. It was also Bautista Agut’s first win over a top-five player this season. Bautista Agut will now meet Andrey Rublev of Russia in the semifinal on Friday.

Earlier on Thursday, Taylor Fritz of the United States continued to impress with his outstanding form when he beat fourth seed Denis Shapovalov of Canada in three grueling sets on the Center Court. Fritz won 5-7, 6-3, 7-5 in two hours and 4 minutes of exciting tennis. Ranked world number 33, the 23-year-old American fired 11 aces in the day’s first quarterfinal. Thursday’s win was Fritz’s first over Shapovalov in four meetings. Fritz, who saved three match points against David Goffin on Wednesday, will next face Nikoloz Basilashvili of Georgia.

In an upset, Nikoloz Basilashvili ended the return of three-time winner Roger Federer after saving a match point in the third set. Playing against the 20-times Grand Slam star only for the second time, Basilashvili won 3-6, 6-1, 7-5 in 1 hour and 52 minutes. Both players fired 12 aces each. The 29-year-old now moves to 7-2 win-loss card in Doha. The Georgian won all three of his 3 career titles in 2019.

Defending champion Andrey Rublev also followed Fritz into the semifinals but without breaking a sweat after his opponent Hungary’s Marton Fucsovics withdrew from their last-eight clash with a back injury. Had the match taken place, it would have been a repeat clash between the two young guns who also came face-to-face in the Rotterdam Open final last week. Rublev, who won the Qatar ExxobMobil Open without dropping a set last year, notched the title win in Rotterdam with a 7-6, 6-4 scoreline.