Spain books ATP Cup finals spot

SPAIN became the first nation through to the ATP Cup final after back-to-back singles wins. Pablo Carreno Busta and Roberto Bautista Agut both had differing singles matches, but it resulted in a victory, defeating Poland 2-1 last night.

Poland was dealt a blow before the tie even began with second singles player, the in-form Kamil Majchrzak ruled out after testing positive for COVID-19. The tie still went ahead though, with the far lower ranked Jan Zielinski stepping into the second singles.

He was no match for the Top 20 ranked Carreno Busta, as the Spaniard destroyed the Polish world number 859, winning 6-2 6-1 to give Spain the upper hand. Carreno Busta served six aces to two, and won 76 and 63 per cent of his first and second serves off a 73 per cent clip. Though Zielinski served with a 71 per cent efficiency, he only won 10 per cent of his second serve points, and 63 per cent of his first. He did not create a break point as Carreno Busta broke the Pole four times from eight chances.

The second match was very different to the first, with Bautista Agut engaged in a thrilling three-set battle against Top 10 talent Hubert Hurkacz. The pair showcased their very differing styles, with Hurkacz serving 24 aces to one but Bautista Agut winning 70 per cent of his second serve points to Hurkacz’ 55 per cent. Despite the Pole breaking Bautista Agut three times to one, the match still resulted in two tiebreakers. In the end, the Spaniard got up in an outstanding performance, winning 7-6 2-6 7-6 to secure Spain the victory.

The doubles effectively became a dead rubber with Spain already through, but Poland deservedly grabbed a win out of the day. Jan Zielinski and Szymon Walkow won a three-set thriller, getting up 4-6 6-3 10-6 in a come from behind win over Albert Ramos-Vinolas and Pedro Martinez. As a specialist doubles combination, the Polish team proved too good in the crunch moments, getting up, though it meant little in the end with Spain securing the overall 2-1 victory and advancing to the final.

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