Spain closes in on ATP Cup semi-finals spot

SPAIN is closing in on being the first nation through to the ATP Cup semi-finals following yet another 3-0 victory in the group stage. The always-strong European nation disposed of Norway this time, and kept its unbeaten streak following its flushing win over Chile two days prior. With Chile defeating Serbia, it left Spain as the only side with two wins. Unless Serbia is able to sweep Spain itself, then the team led by Roberto Bautista Agut and Pablo Carreno Busta will advance to the final four.

Spain (3) defeated Norway (0)

In its latest win, Spain had a few challenges along the way, but nothing it could not handle. Carreno Busta was first up, taking on the lowly ranked Viktor Durasovic. Predicted to win comfortably after a good first round match, Carreno Busta had a bit more of a fight on his hands, but still triumphed courtesy of three breaks. He never faced a break point himself, but converted three of eight, eventually getting the win 6-3 6-3. Posting a ridiculous 91 per cent off his first serve and producing seven aces without a double-fault, Carreno Busta was on-song. By comparison, despite Durasovic serving eight aces, he also served three double-faults and only had a 52 per cent efficiency.

Coming up against one of the form players of 2021, Bautista Agut knew he was going to have a far greater challenge up against Top 10 talent Casper Ruud than his Chilean opponent the previous match. Despite Ruud putting down 10 aces and winning 84 per cent of his first serve points, Bautista Agut just found a way. He weathered the storm, and with a slightly better serving efficiency (62 to 61 per cent), just went about dominating his first serve. Playing a safe and poignant game, Bautista Agut won 92 per cent of his first serve points, breaking once from three chances, but that was enough. He ended up winning 6-4 7-6, with the nail-biting second set tiebreaker going 7-4.

Despite the match being wrapped up, it did not stop the Spanish pairing of Alejandro Davidovich Fokina and Pedro Martinez taking down their lower ranked Norwegian opponents. It was a great experience for 21-year-olds Lukas Hellum-Lilleengen and Andreja Petrovic against the Top 100 ranked in singles, Spaniards. Davidovich Fokina and Martinez won 6-4 6-1 in a comfortable victory, getting better as the game went on and winning five consecutive games in the second set. They won 87 and 75 per cent of their first and second serve points off a 77 per cent clip, and broke four times from 11 chances, whilst saving the only break point they faced.


In Group D, Argentina and Poland set up a virtual elimination final in the final round robin match after both sides saluted yesterday. The Argentinians are heavily fancied to advance to the semi-finals and face off against Spain after another 3-0 sweep. In the singles, Diego Schwartzman produced a stunning effort to knock off Stefanos Tsitsipas in three sets, coming from behind to post a 6-7 6-3 6-3 win over the Top 5 player. The important victory ensured the doubles did not become a live match, following Federico Delbonis‘ triumph over Michail Pervolarakis. Delbonis fought through a tougher-than-expected first set to come away with a 7-5 win in the tiebreak, before running away with it to win 7-6 6-1. The Argentinians then closed out the tie with a nail-biting three-set victory. Top 50 doubles players Maximo Gonzalez and Andres Molteni just got home against a gallant Markos Kalovelonis and Petros Tsitsipas, 6-3 4-6 11-9.

Poland grabbed a win over Georgia 3-0, but perhaps not quite in the completely one-sided contest it was billed up to be. Georgia was missing top ranked singles player Nikoloz Basilashvili leaving only players ranked outside the Top 500. In the first match of the day, Kamil Majchrzak easily took care of Aleksandre Bakshi 6-1 6-1. Whilst Bakshi did break once, Majchrzak dominated with six breaks from 12 chances. Top 10 talent Hubert Hurkacz then won against 570th ranked Aleksandre Metreveli, but not without a stunning first set. Metreveli had the Polish star on the ropes with a first set tiebreaker win, before Hurkacz came back to win 6-7 6-3 6-1, credit to his 16 aces and winning 79 and 73 per cent of his first and second serve points off an 80 per cent clip, never looking like getting broken. Poland then closed out the doubles in a come-from-behind thriller, 6-7 6-2 10-6.

In the other game on day three, Chile grabbed the victory over Serbia for its first-ever ATP Cup win. One of the tightest matches of the tournament thus far, Filip Krajinovic got Serbia off to a perfect start with a nail-biting 6-4 3-6 7-6 victory over Alejandro Tabilo. He weathered 11 aces of Tabilo’s racquet to win 75 per cent of his first serve points from a 67 per cent clip. Levelling the tie courtesy of a walkover, Cristian Garin bounced back from a forgettable match against Bautista Agut on day one, to win against Dusan Lajovic. The Serbian was forced to retire as Garin had come from behind to lead 4-6 6-4 3-0 midway through the final set. With the game on the line, Alejandro Tabilo and Tomas Barrios Vera got the job done in the doubles, winning against Top 100 doubles pairing, Nikola Cacic and Matej Sabanov, 6-4 3-6 10-7.

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