Bedene battles into Miami Open R2

By Ros Satar

  • Aljaz Bedene def. Roberto Carballes Baena [WC] 4-6 6-2 6-3
  • R2: Roberto Bautista Agut [17] – H2H: Bedene leads 2-0

MIAMI, USA – Aljaz Bedene seemed to be battling more than just his opponent as he came from a set down to book his place in the second round of the Miami Open.

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There was no doubt that Bedene was a man with a lot on his mind at the start of the match. With a lead in the head to head with Roberto Carballes Baena on the Challenger tour, and the Spaniard by far more comfortable on the dirt, with no less than seven breaks of serve in the first set.

The advantage (such as it was!) went to the Spaniard who managed the first hold which kept him ahead for a 4-1 lead while the usually quiet, almost reserved Bedene smacked racquets and balls about, earning himself a warning.

It wasn’t hard to feel some sympathy for the Brit – having had to rouse himself for a 5am video conference while in Irving the day of his final, for his now failed appeal to the ITF to represent Great Britain in the Davis Cup, and then lost the final with just two games on the board.

He did at least look to arrest the ensuing unravelling as he broke the Spaniard as he looked to serve out the set, and finally held his own serve to creep back into contention, but it was not enough to face a deficit.

The second set was a lot more competitive as it seemed he had let all his frustrations out in the first set, breaking the Spaniard to love at the tail end of the set, and breaking once more for the set, but not before Carballes Baena saved five set points.

It was much surer grounds for the British No. 2 as he broke early for a 3-0 lead, and kept the advantage to close out a 4-6 6-2 6-3 win, earning a shot at another Spaniard.

Talking to the BBC’s Piers Newbery in Miami, he admitted: “I’m still shocked, to be honest, said the 26-year-old. “It’s not easy, I have to tell you that. Even today, the first set, I was still thinking about it.

“I’ve been struggling. I was sad, almost crying. It’s been difficult and I really wanted it. I’ll still keep fighting.”

With regards to the final step, the Court of Arbitration for Sport, it is an expensive option to consider, hence perhaps a lot on Bedene’s mind.

“I think the best thing is the lawyers check it and see if there is a chance, not a slight chance, but a good chance to win. If not, I don’t think it’s fair on the LTA to do this.”

 

Aljaz Bedene v Roberto Bautista Agut [17] – H2H: Bedene leads 2-0

If ever there was someone in need of a boost of confidence just now, it’s the Brit, and hopefully the fact that he has two wins over the Spaniard last year should help him along a difficult time just now.

Bautista Agut is a fairly steady player, and has been a consistent presence in or around the Top 20 for the last couple of years. He won the title at the start of the year in Auckland and made it to the fourth round of the Australian Open before picking up his second title of the year in Sofia. He remained steady in a couple of quarter-finals, before an early exit at Indian Wells.

He is a player that just doesn’t make many mistakes and if Bedene has another lapse that we saw on Thursday, he will take full advantage. Their matches have been tight in the past and Bedene had to come from a set down when they faced each other last on a hard court.

Once Bedene had settled down, his serve and forehand worked well for him, and his shot placement was solid when it needed to be in the decider.

Prediction: Bedene in three sets.

Play will continue at the Miami Open at 11am (3pm GMT).

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