Novak Djokovic gave credit where credit was due following his surprise loss to Roberto Bautista Agut in the semi-finals of the Shanghai Masters on Saturday.
The world number one endured a rather indifferent day on his favourite surface – notching up no less than 29 unforced errors – while Bautista Agut showed superb mental fortitude to stay in the game to earn his first win over the top-ranked Serb.
As a result, Djokovic heaped praise on his Spanish opponent.
"He was a better player, no question about it," he said after the match.
"In important moments, he was more consistent. He was more solid."
Meanwhile, Bautista Agut – who earned his first appearance in a Masters 1000 final – was feeling entire different range of emotions.
— TennisTV (@TennisTV) October 15, 2016
"I can't describe how I feel…I'm so happy," said the 28-year-old, who defeated ninth seed Jo Wilfried Tsonga in the quarter-finals.
"I played really good tennis this week, and I hope to play the same tennis tomorrow in the final. I tried to force him to play his best tennis. I think in the first set he played some good tennis. He played a little bit better than me.
“But then I knew that I had to increase my level. I had to play more aggressive…and then at 5-4, I started to play more aggressive and I started to play better tennis.
"After the passing shot in the last point, I was so happy…I couldn't imagine me closing the match against Novak."