Australian Open 2023: Paul closes the way for Bautista | Sports

The final frame is radically different. If two days before Roberto Bautista’s jugular vein had inflamed, unleashed after aborting Andy Murray’s reaction, this time the man from Castellón ends up arms akimbo; the ball that seals his career in this Australian Open and erases the Spanish representation of the tournament touches the tape, is suspended in the air and falls gently to the other side of the net. The stroke of fortune, identical signature to that of Rublev-Rune, definitively settled the duel in his favor (6-2, 4-6, 6-2 and 7-5, in 3h 19m) and corroborates that the North American has become in a true martyrdom: 15-6 in his favor against national players, 11 consecutive wins since he beat Albert Ramos last year in Rome.

An episode that this Monday started crooked ends badly: “The towel is a hundred meters away! Nerd! If you understood me, you wouldn’t act like that!” Bautista does not understand the warning he receives from the chair umpire when not even two games have elapsed. This considers that the 34-year-old Spaniard is excessively late when it comes to serving and the rebuke triggers a scene that is difficult to find: the man from Castellón, an iceberg whatever the circumstance, gets more than considerable annoyance and He disputes the entire first set with disgust, pending the urgency that the authority demands of him in each turn; he protests several times, and that’s where he loses the strength shown by Paul, another guy who is not easy to get out of his boxes.

Supported by the directions drawn by his service and his temperance, the North American (25 years old, 35th in the ATP) pilots the crossing with a firm hand and although he gives way in the second set, he prevails in the pulse to see who offers more consistency.

Play without fear Paul, who in addition to transmitting calm strikes with the punishing hammer; its 58 winners –among them 11 aces– They are breaking down the options of the Spanish, resilient and rebellious, but this time without the necessary arguments to continue progressing. A juicy opportunity is gone in Melbourne. His layout was good at this beginning of the course, with the final in Adelaide and these last days inspired; Final point for Spanish tennis, which rewinds to 2006, when he exhausted all the artillery before the quarterfinals.

Meanwhile, the good work of Paul corroborates the happy moment of his country, with three candidates among the eight best; he, Ben Shelton (6-7 (5), 6-2, 6-7 (4), 7-6 (4) and 6-2 to his compatriot JJ Wolf) and the stylist Sebastian Korda, son of the famous Petr. He sticks his chest out for US tennis and so does Djokovic, who snorts back to Jim Courier in the post-match interview.

“Why did you beat him so resoundingly, Novak?” “Because I wanted, I wanted to win in three sets; I’m sorry that we couldn’t see more tennis…”, jokes Nole, who after two interventions peppered with uncertainty –pain and care for that left thigh that worries him so much, he says– offers his roundest performance in this Open and begins to teach la patita: Nole erases Alex de Miñaur as the great Nole, without suspense or signs of emergency (6-2, 6-1 and 6-2).

“I have not felt discomfort, it has been my best game of the year”, describes the champion of 22 greats with a half smile, quoted with the Russian Andrei Rublev (6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 4-6 and 7 -6(9) to Holger Rune) and with an increasingly sharp eye, just three wins away from equaling Rafael Nadal’s record. The rest, the seven lucky ones who are still in the fray, tremble in the meantime.

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