Just when you thought Nikoloz Basilashvili’s season couldn’t get any worse, he totally redeems himself. Long known as one of the game’s streakiest players, Basilashvili delivered an extremely improbable run this week in Doha.

Into his first final since winning Hamburg in 2019, the Georgian had been 2-14 since the end of the COVID-19 lockdown only to snap his five-match losing streak with a tough first round win over John Millman. He went on to end Roger Federer's return to action and dispatched Taylor Fritz 7-6 (3), 6-1 in Friday’s semifinal. He’ll next face an on-fire Roberto Bautista Agut, who dismantled Andrey Rublev 6-3, 6-3, in the first semifinal.

Basiliashvili has beaten Bautista Agut just once in four encounters: at the 2019 Dubai Tennis Championships. The rock-solid Spaniard presents a tough match-up for the ball-bashing world No. 42, but when Basilashvili gathers momentum he is certainly tough to slow down.

Basiliashvili will need to do damage in his return games if he wants to keep this close. It’s tough to fathom somebody injecting more pace than Basilashvili does here, from 10+ feet behind the baseline.

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The Pick: Roberto Bautista Agut vs. Nikoloz Basilashvili, ATP Doha

Unfortunately for Basilashvili, Bautista Agut eats pace for breakfast. Not only does he prefer his opponent to hit hard, he happens to be one of the game’s best re-directors, using his swift movement and timing to break down his opponents.

Bautista Agut’s greatest strength is his disguise, on both the forehand and backhand. He’ll engage in a lengthy crosscourt rally and pull the trigger down the line when you least expect it. He’s also channeled his inner Pete Sampras this week.

The Pick: Roberto Bautista Agut vs. Nikoloz Basilashvili, ATP Doha

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Here, RBA wrong foots Rublev twice in the same point. If he can keep Basilashvili off-balance on Saturday, he should cruise to a straightforward victory.

The Pick: Roberto Bautista Agut vs. Nikoloz Basilashvili, ATP Doha

There is a massive gap in discipline and shot selection between these two players. To make matters worse for the Georgian, Bautista Agut has summoned some serious internal fire in Doha. No player wants any part of the Spaniard when he's this pumped up.

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The Pick: Roberto Bautista Agut vs. Nikoloz Basilashvili, ATP Doha

In the end, Bautista Agut ought to wear down Basilashvili with his speed, consistency, and unpredictability. Barring an utterly sensational match from Basilashvili, expect Bautista Agut to lift his second Doha trophy in three years.

The Pick: Roberto Bautista Agut

The Pick: Roberto Bautista Agut vs. Nikoloz Basilashvili, ATP Doha

The Pick: Roberto Bautista Agut vs. Nikoloz Basilashvili, ATP Doha