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Second seed Roberto Bautista Agut sweeps into the Zhuhai semi-finals on Friday with victory over Andreas Seppi.

Bautista Agut Still Perfect Against Seppi, Reaches Zhuhai Semi-finals

De Minaur defeats Coric on Friday

Nitto ATP Finals contender Roberto Bautista Agut strengthened his hold on seventh position in the 2019 ATP Race To London on Friday by reaching the Huajin Securities Zhuhai Championships semi-finals. The Spaniard improved to 4-0 lifetime against Italian Andreas Seppi with a 6-2, 6-2 win in 79 minutes.

With four singles spots left up for grabs, Bautista Agut is now 210 points ahead of eighth-placed Italian Matteo Berrettini (2,185 points) in the battle to qualify for the Nitto ATP Finals, to be held at The O2 in London from 10-17 November.

When asked about his 2019 season, which includes a run to the Wimbledon semi-finals, Bautista Agut said, "It means that I've been doing a lot of good things during the past year and it means that I'm improving my tennis. My game is getting better and that's why I'm climbing in the ATP Rankings."

Two breaks in each set against Seppi helped Bautista Agut improve to a 37-16 match record on the season, which includes his ninth ATP Tour title at the QatarExxon Mobil Open in Doha (d. Berdych).

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“It’s a very nice center court and the conditions here are very slow, every ball, every point is played by long rallies,” said Bautista Agut. “I like the way I played today and I felt really good on the court.”

Awaiting Bautista Agut in the semi-finals is seventh seed Alex de Minaur. The #NextGenATP Aussie continued to make his case for a second appearance at the Next Gen ATP Finals in November by prevailing in an entertaining 6-2, 4-6, 6-4 clash against fourth-seeded Croatian Borna Coric. Their Centre Court battle was the second Top 15 win of De Minaur’s career.

“Obviously I’ve got to do everything I can to recover. Every time I step out on court, I'm going to give one hundred percent,” De Minaur said. “Roberto is a very good friend of mine and one of the toughest guys out there, so it's going to be a hell of a fight and I love it. I’m looking forward to it.”

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After racing through the opening set, it appeared that the Aussie would cruise to victory after pouncing on Coric’s serve to break at 3-3 in the second set. Coric had other ideas, though, and completed a remarkable turnaround by winning 12 of the next 14 points to force a decider. De Minaur scored the lone break of the final set at 1-1 and held on to his slight advantage with a flawless serving display, winning 20 of 23 service points to advance in two hours and 19 minutes.

The 20-year-old, who defeated Andy Murray on Thursday, has continued to excel on hard courts this season. He captured his maiden ATP Tour crown on home soil in January at the Sydney International (d. Seppi) and prevailed in July at the BB&T Atlanta Open. De Minaur also defeated Kei Nishikori last month at the US Open to reach the second week at a Grand Slam for the first time.

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