Roberto Bautista Agut wore down Miomir Kecmanovic on Thursday at the US Open for a place in the third round. The eighth seed beat Kecmanovic 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4, breaking serve three times from 17 opportunities over two hours and 38 minutes. He will next challenge Canadian Vasek Pospisil, who upset countryman Milos Raonic 6-7(1), 6-3, 7-6(4), 6-3.
Bautista Agut recovered from 15/40 at 2-2 in the first set, prior to finding his groundstroke range and breaking Kecmanovic in the next game. Playing closer to the baseline, Kecmanovic used his forehand to open up the court in the second set. He broke for a 5-3 advantage, then recovered from 15/40 by winning four straight points.
Bautista Agut, who advanced to the Western & Southern Open semi-finals (l. to Djokovic in third set tie-break), regrouped and was rarely troubled en route to his 14th victory of the year, closing out on his fifth match point. The 32-year-old recorded the 300th match win of his career over Tennys Sandgren in the first round.
Later in the afternoon, Pospisil made his net play count when he beat fellow Canadian Milos Raonic 6-7(1), 6-3, 7-6(4), 6-3 in three hours and 18 minutes.
Both players won 82 per cent of their first-service points, but Pospisil was clutch at the net winning 27 of 30 points to keep No. 25 seed Raonic on the move. Raonic, who struck 29 aces, double faulted twice to lose his serve at 3-4 in the fourth set and Pospisil didn’t need a second invitation. The 30-year-old struck his 19th ace to complete his 10th victory of the year.
“I feel great,” said Pospisil, in an on-court interview. “We both started maybe a little bit nervously, as we’ve known each other a long time. But I was reading his serve well today and it’s always a matter of a few points. I’m happy to have beaten Milos today. I have struggled with back issues for a few years and I haven’t felt this good since 2014.”
Former World No. 3 Raonic competed in his fourth ATP Masters 1000 final on Saturday, losing to World No. 1 Novak Djokovic at the Western & Southern Open.
Karen Khachanov was at his aggressive best when he beat fellow Russian Andrey Kuznetsov 6-3, 6-4, 6-1 in one hour and 50 minutes. Khachanov, the No. 11 seed, lost just eight of his first-service points and converted six of 15 break points. Kuznetsov, who missed two years and seven months of competitive tennis due to a hip injury, won his first tour-level match since August 2017 with victory over Sam Querrey in the US Open first round.
The 24-year-old Khachanov, who is through to the US Open third round for the second time (also 2018), now prepares to face No. 21 seed Alex de Minaur, who overcame Richard Gasquet 6-4, 6-3, 6-7(6), 7-5.