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Bautista Agut ends Rublev’s Qatar Open defense in semis

Qatar ExxonMobil Open 2021 - Day Five

DOHA, QATAR - MARCH 12: Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain hits a forehand during the Semi-final match between Roberto Bautista Agut and Andrey Rublev on Day Five of the Qatar ExxonMobil Open at Khalifa International Tennis and Squash Complex on March 12, 2021 in Doha, Qatar. (Photo by Mohamed Farag/Getty Images)

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DOHA, Qatar -- Roberto Bautista Agut ended Andrey Rublev’s Qatar Open title defense in the semifinals by upsetting the Russian 6-3, 6-3.

Rublev was also aiming for back-to-back titles after winning the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam.

The Russian was in the unusual position of playing a semifinal without having spent a minute on court in the singles tournament following a bye and two walkovers, though he had been playing doubles. Rublev served eight aces but still had his serve broken four times by Bautista Agut.

Bautista Agut is into his second final of 2021 following a loss to David Goffin in Montpellier last month. His win at the Qatar Open in January 2019 remains his most recent title on the tour.

The 13th-ranked Spanish player will face Nikoloz Basilashvili for the title in the final after the Georgian beat Taylor Fritz 7-6 (3), 6-1.

Basilashvili is in his first final since July 2019 after a Qatar campaign which included a win over Roger Federer’s in the quarterfinals.