Bautista’s vengeful return

Antonio Arenas Men's Tennis, Mutua News, Tennis

Roberto Bautista had a score to settle on Tuesday at the start of his tenth Mutua Madrid Open appearance. He was still yet to compete on clay this year due to a wrist problem he picked up after playing in the Masters 1000 in Miami. Coincidentally, he was facing the same opponent who sent him packing in Florida, Jenson Brooksby.

In the Caja Mágica, the man from Castellon was able to leverage his home advantage and stormed to victory in just 82 minutes (6-0, 6-2). Bautista is now in the second round, where he will face Daniel Evans for a place in the last sixteen. The Briton reached the tie by seeing off Argentine Federico Delbonis in two sets (6-3, 6-4).

The seventeenth seed came flying out of the blocks to win the first set six games to love in half an hour, he dominated his opponent with some solid serving, winning 91% of points on his first serve and the Californian was never close to breaking him.

Despite his slow start, Brooksby’s head did not drop. The Californian world No. 42 broke his opponent in the opening game of the second set. However, Bautista recovered immediately and then re-established his dominance with two more breaks in the sixth and eighth games to seal a victory that included twenty winners and just twelve unforced errors.

A monkey off his back

The result means the Spaniard has now equalled his result from last year’s #MMOPEN and he is looking to revisit the heights of his 2014 appearance, when he reached the semi-finals. Then, only Rafael Nadal, who went on to be crowned champion, was capable of stopping Bautista from reaching his first final in the Spanish capital.

Bautista did nothing to hide his satisfaction at starting the European clay swing with a solid win to distinguish any lingering doubts over the wrist problem that sidelined him. “They were difficult weeks, I suffered a lot and luckily the work on court paid off”, he said immediately after his match in the Arantxa Sánchez-Vicario Stadium.

The world No. 19 was delighted to have beaten the last man he played before his injury and admitted to feeling very comfortable in the Caja Mágica. “The last match I played, I lost in the third set. It was a really tough match and now I’m really happy to return to competition in Madrid. I enjoyed myself and it’s always a pleasure to do that”.