Russian world number two Daniil Medvedev obliterated his racket not once but twice on the way to defeat against Spain’s Roberto Bautista Agut in their Miami Open quarter-final.
Continuing his winless run against the veteran Spaniard, Medvedev slipped to a third defeat in meetings with Bautista Agut as he went down in straight sets 6-4, 6-2.
Medvedev had spoken beforehand of the danger posed by the number seven seed, praising him as a “hell of a player” and claiming it was something of a puzzle as to why the 32-year-old was not ranked higher.
Medvedev again could not find the answer to the conundrum, and despite a tight opening eight games in the first set, Bautista Agut broke through at 5-4 before serving out the set.
The second set was more straightforward as the Spaniard took an early lead and continued to counterpunch his way to victory against his big-hitting rival.
Medvedev was clearly feeling the heat, at one stage hammering his racket into the ground before continuing to take his frustrations out on the already-mangled frame.
After recently ascending world number two – the first new name in the spot outside of the ‘Big Four’ of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray in more than 15 years – Medvedev let an opportunity slip to consolidate that spot and claim a maiden title in Miami.
Instead, the 32-year-old Bautista Agut remains in the hunt for a first ATP Masters 1000 title, and will meet Italian teenage sensation Jannik Sinner in the semi-final.
Sinner overcame Kazakhstan’s Alexander Bublik in straight sets in their quarter-final, and also defeated Bautista Agut two weeks ago in their round-of-16 meeting in Dubai.
Bautista Agut said after his victory over Medvedev: “I want to give Daniil all the credit, I know he is one of the best players in the world.”
“He’s been winning a lot of matches, he’s No. 2 in the world, so I’m very happy and proud about how I played today. I think I showed a great level on the court.”
There will be a maiden Masters 1000 champion regardless of who is crowned this weekend, with all the names still in competition yet to win a title at this level.
Russia still has a representative in the hat in the form of fourth seed Andrey Rublev, who meets America’s Sebastian Korda in their quarter-final on Thursday.