Shotmaking: Novak Djokovic d. Roberto Bautista Agut

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In our Shotmaking series, Anita Aguilar will provide the photos and Steve Tignor will provide the captions. Together, they'll tell the story of a match at the U.S. Open.

Does Djokovic really need to stretch? Here the Gumby of the game shows off his bendability.

Here he shows off his *sigh* look. Between Bautista Agut and the crowd, it was a long night for the world No. 1.

The New York audience had spent the evening rooting for the underdog, as it tends to do. After winning a big point, Djokovic wanted to hear a little love for the top dog.

He may look like he’s starting a dance session here...

...but he was just getting fired up.

The cliché is that Djokovic “wants to be loved.” Maybe it’s more accurate to say that he “doesn’t want to be rooted against all the time.”

As he did in the Wimbledon final this year, Djokovic used the crowd’s antagonism to fuel him. By the middle of the fourth set, he was playing the way he did when he beat Andy Roddick in the infamous “SARS match” here in 2008—zoning defiantly.

Djokovic turning, as they say, defense into offense.

And then he switches over to airplane mode.

There may be a rule against on-court coaching, but there’s no rule against on-court staring.

Djokovic gave as good as he got in that department.

Djokovic in full, linear flight.

And, after a shirt change, getting some air.

Yes, this laugh was sarcastic.

Bautista Agut, the man behind Djokovic’s angst, got white-hot at the end of the second set and briefly took over the match.

But all was forgiven in the end, as Djokovic found some love at the net.

The crowd responded to Djokovic, but they never forgot the underdog.

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