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Resolute, Beautiful, Achieving: RBA Day

Matt Zemek

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Geoff Burke -- USA TODAY Sports

Sometimes, simple facts don’t begin to tell the full story of what an athlete has achieved. Other times, those plain, unvarnished facts sufficiently capture the enormity of an athlete’s feat. For Roberto Bautista Agut, Wimbledon semifinalist, the plain facts ARE sufficient.

Without injecting ANY editorial opinion or commentary — no added argumentation or layers of analysis — let me provide plain facts, and nothing else, to express how special it is that Roberto Bautista Agut has made, at 31, his first major semifinal.

RBA’s mother died last year.

RBA lost his first NINE fourth-round matches at majors.

He lost fourth-round matches at three straight majors: the 2017 Australian Open through 2017 Wimbledon.

After losing those three straight fourth-round matches in 2017 at the majors, RBA didn’t make the fourth round at the next five majors, one of which he didn’t play — 2018 Wimbledon — due to an injury he suffered in Halle weeks earlier.

RBA’s nine straight fourth-round major-tournament losses without a single victory encompassed a four-year span, 2014 through 2017.

RBA has made his first major semifinal after turning 31.

Only three men in the Open Era of professional tennis have won their first major title after turning 30: Andres Gimeno at Roland Garros in 1972, Andres Gomez at Roland Garros in 1990, and Petr Korda at the Australian Open in 1998.

Fabio Fognini has never made a major semifinal.

Nicolas Almagro never made a major semifinal.

Philipp Kohlschreiber has never made a major semifinal.

Feliciano Lopez has never made a major semifinal.

Gilles Simon has never made a major semifinal.

Pablo Cuevas has never made a major semifinal.

James Blake never made a major semifinal.

Several other men who made the ATP top 10 at some point since the ATP rankings began in 1973 never made a major semifinal:

To offer a few examples from the above list:

Gene Mayer (first made the top 10 in 1980).

Guy Forget (1991).

Tommy Robredo (2006 — and made the top five at one point).

Just the facts. Happy RBA Day at Wimbledon.

Matt Zemek is the co-editor of Tennis With An Accent with Saqib Ali. Matt is the lead writer for the site and helps Saqib with the TWAA podcast, produced by Radio Influence at radioinfluence.com. Matt has written professionally about men's and women's tennis since 2014 for multiple outlets: Comeback Media, FanRagSports, and independently at Patreon, where he maintains a tennis site. You can reach Matt by e-mail: mzemek@hotmail.com. You can find him on Twitter at @mzemek.

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