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Nadal and Djokovic debut with triumph in the ATP Cup

Nadal and Djokovic debut with triumph in the ATP Cup

Two of the main stars taking part in the ATP Cup, the Spanish Rafael Nadal and the Serbian Novak Djokovic made their debut with victory in the tournament, on a day in which Argentina defeated Poland 2-1 with suspense.

Nadal, world number 1, started his 2020 season with a victory over Georgian Nikoloz Basilashvili by 6-3 and 7-5, which meant 2-0 in the tie, after Roberto Bautista had broken hostilities with a resounding 6-0 double win over Aleksandre Metreveli.

Nadal started the game losing service, but quickly recovered the ‘break’ and was increasing his level of play to beat Basilashvili with some ease, who has still not beaten the Spanish on the four occasions they have faced each other.

Only in the second set, when the Spaniard won 5-2, did Nadal seem to lose concentration, which the Georgian took advantage of to tie the set (5-5), at which point the Spaniard recovered to close the match.

“I am very happy to be here in Perth for the first time in my life. On a fantastic court and a great crowd, “said Nadal.

“It was a tough first game of the season, not easy, but I played a great game,” he congratulated himself.

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Nadal, who in November led Spain to win the Davis Cup in Madrid, recalled: «We have great experiences winning as a team and representing our country and here we are again. We want to do our best ».

In the double, Pablo Carreño and Feliciano López took the point to give Spain 3-0, which places them as the leader of group B along with Japan, which in the daytime defeated Uruguay 3-0 without difficulties.

In a similar situation to Nadal was Djokovic. Dusan Lajkovic had given the first point to Serbia against the South African Lloyd Harris, by beating him 3-6, 7-6 (7/4) and 6-3, and then ‘Nole’ closed the tie with a hard-fought victory over Kevin Anderson by 7-6 (7/5) and 7-6 (8/6).

“What a way to start the year!”, Launched Djokovic interviewed on the pitch. “I started very well, I went 4-1 up and had some ‘break’ balls, but Kevin increased his level of play,” he explained.

Thanks to their 3-0 final against South Africa, Serbia leads Group A, followed by France, who beat Chile 2-1.

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– Argentina saves the furniture –
In Sydney, the Polish Hubert Hurkacz surprised by defeating the Argentine Diego Schwartzman, a defeat that the ‘Peque’ attributed to the heat, although Argentina saved the furniture by beating Poland 2-1.

Temperatures in Sydney far exceeded 40 degrees, although fears that the fumes from the devastating fires that are burning the east coast of Australia could affect tennis players were ultimately unfounded.

Schwartzman, number 14 in the world ranking despite being one of the smallest players on the circuit (barely 1.70 m), seemed to have the victory in hand after beating Hurkacz (N.37) in the first set by 4- 6, but the heat seemed to melt the Argentine, who succumbed in the next two sets to end up losing 6-2, 6-3.

“It was the first game in this weather, 45 degrees on the court, it is difficult to play, difficult to be prepared at every point,” Schwartzman tried to explain.

“I think he deserved the victory, he played much better than me,” he added.

With that victory, the Poles placed the score at 1-1, after Guido Pella (N.25), had previously imposed on Kamil Majchrzak by 6-2, 2-6 and 6-2 and everything happened to depend on the doubles for Argentina to achieve its first point in this new tournament played by 24 national teams.

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«In general I am happy. First because I played a great game in the first and third sets. In the second, I felt a bit tired from the heat, “explained Pella after two hours and four minutes of hard battle with Majchrzak, number 101 in the ranking.

At each break, the players were forced to place ice towels around their necks to try to lower their body temperature.

Hurkacz jumped onto the court again to make a pair with Lubasz Kubot, but the European duo ended up losing to Argentines Máximo González and Andrés Molteni 6-4 and 6-2.

Another surprise of the day was the defeat of Austrian Dominic Thiem against Croatian Borna Coric by 7-6 (7/4), 2-6 and 6-3, which made it 2-0 for the Balkans.

This victory (3-0 final) gives the leadership of group E to Croatia, followed by Argentina. Afp

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