Roberto Bautista Agut battled hard on Wednesday evening at the Hamburg European Open to defeat home favourite Dominik Koepfer 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, setting a quarter-final clash against Andrey Rublev.
Bautista Agut is into the last eight at the ATP 500 in his first tournament as a father. The fourth-seeded Spaniard rallied from a break down in the third set to triumph against the Rome quarter-finalist after two hours and four minutes.
Last week, Koepfer qualified at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia and advanced to his first ATP Tour quarter-final at the Foro Italico. The German was the only player to win a set against World No. 1 Novak Djokovic in Rome, and his confidence showed against Bautista Agut.
The German won three consecutive games from 0-2 down in the decider to lead by a break. But Bautista Agut remained consistent in side-to-side rallies, moving into the forecourt when necessary. The nine-time ATP Tour titlist broke serve seven times from 17 chances.
Koepfer got off to a strong start in the match, but Bautista Agut tightened up his game to win five straight games from an 0-2 deficit in the first set. Koepfer once again took early control of the second set by taking a 3-1 lead, but Bautista Agut kept fighting. There were five consecutive service breaks, before Koepfer finally closed out with an unreturned serve.
There were 13 service breaks in the match and the server was broken 48 per cent of the time. Bautista Agut will try to shore that up against Rublev, who earned his 22nd match win of 2020 with a 6-1, 3-6, 6-2 victory over Tommy Paul in one hour and 37 minutes.
Rublev won 33 of his 40 service points, and he will try to maintain that success against Bautista Agut. The Spaniard leads their ATP Head2Head rivalry 2-1.