The 31-year-old Spaniard has been ranked inside the top-100 for seven years now, needing a couple of years on the Challenger Tour (240 Fufures matches and 15 finals as well) to shape up his game and become the regular visitor of the ATP tournaments.
For more than five years, Roberto has been a part of the top-30 group after winning 280 ATP matches and conquering nine titles from 16 ATP finals on all surfaces. Scoring 11 wins in 61 encounters against the top-10, Bautista Agut had the opportunity to check the level of his tennis against the best players in the world, delivering a couple of wins against Novak Djokovic and battling against Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and other stars in the last seven years.
Ever since 2016, Roberto was on the verge of entering the top-10, moving up to the 13th spot in the ranking in 2017 and 2018 as well before making an extra step in the last couple of months, reaching five consecutive quarter-finals since Halle to come back from outside the top-20 to join the elite ten for the first time in a career.
Roberto lost to Roger in the quarter-final in Halle before advancing into the last four at Wimbledon after rock-solid tennis, taking a set against Novak Djokovic before losing 6-2, 4-6 6-3, 6-2. With 720 points in his bag, Bautista Agut was ready to chase more in Gstaad, Montreal and Cincinnati, earning 360 points during the North American hard-court swing after advancing into the last eight at both events, using some other favorable results from the closest rivals to find himself in the top-10.
Thus, Roberto has become the 168th player in the top-10 since the summer of 1973 and the fourth-oldest who got there for the first time after Ken Rosewall, Rod Laver and Fabio Fognini who did that two months before the Spaniard.
Bautista Agut is the 19th competitor from Spain to find himself on that exclusive list, the fourth after 2006 following Fernando Verdasco, Nicolas Almagro and Pablo Carreno Busta.