ATP Cup 2021: Germany finish Serbia’s title defence; Spain transfer to semis regardless of lacking Rafael Nadal
Rafael Nadal was as soon as once more lacking from the Spanish crew as they misplaced 2-1 to Greece.
Melbourne: Novak Djokovic fought previous Alexander Zverev however it wasn’t sufficient to stave off defeat for Serbia within the ATP Cup Friday, with Germany making the semi-finals alongside a Spanish crew lacking injured Rafael Nadal.
The world primary, who’s ramping up preparations to defend his Australian Open crown, was examined in his singles rubber earlier than outlasting Zverev 6-7 (3/7), 6-2, 7-5.
However the German obtained revenge within the deciding doubles, teaming with Jan-Lennard Struff to edge Djokovic and Nikola Cacic 7-6 (7/4), 5-7, 10-7 and guarantee they made a final 4 conflict towards Daniil Medvedev’s Russia.
Struff earlier beat Dusan Lajovic within the different singles tie.
“It was so tough to play towards (Zverev) right now. Missiles from the opposite facet of the courtroom, each first and second serve,” mentioned Djokovic, who led his nation to the inaugural title final 12 months.
“He was going for it, not too many double faults. You have to give him credit score for being brave and making an attempt his greatest.”
Nadal lacking once more
In the meantime, Nadal was as soon as once more lacking from the Spanish crew as they misplaced 2-1 to Greece.
He watched from the crew field as Pablo Carreno Busta and Roberto Bautista Agut led the problem towards Michail Pervolarakis and Stefanos Tsitsipas.
Carreno Busta, ranked sixteenth, had few issues in thrashing Pervolarakis 6-3, 6-4 to ensure their spot within the playoff rounds towards Italy.
Australia was already eradicated from their group heading into Friday’s match, whereas Greece wanted to win the tie 3-0 to advance.
“With this victory, we’re into the semi-finals, so it was crucial to us,” Carreno Busta mentioned. “I attempted to be focussed on myself, to attempt to play my greatest recreation.”
Bautista Agut could not match the exploits, crashing 7-5, 7-5 to world quantity six Tsitsipas, who boasts two wins from two in a promising begin to his season.
“I feel I performed very stable all through the entire match and confirmed aggression,” mentioned the Greek. “My forehand was on hearth, my serve was working rather well for me.”
The Dominic Thiem-led Austria meet France later Friday with the ultimate group tie between Argentina and Japan on Saturday.
Eyes on the Open
The outcomes imply 17-time Grand Slam champion Djokovic has 4 powerful matches beneath his belt — two singles and two doubles — as he targets a record-extending ninth Australian Open title.
In distinction, Nadal hasn’t performed a aggressive recreation for the reason that semi-finals of the ATP Finals in London on 21 November.
His solely look since was an exhibition towards Thiem in Adelaide final week, with a again harm casting a shadow over his hopes of a record-setting twenty first Grand Slam title in Melbourne.
He pulled out of Spain’s opening ATP Cup tie at brief discover in addition to lacking the Greece recreation on Friday.
“I am not effectively sufficient to play. I am bettering little by little, however I am not able to play a match with most depth,” Nadal instructed Spanish broadcaster Vamos.
The Australian Open will get underway on Monday with Nadal, the 2009 champion, trying to edge forward of Roger Federer who additionally has 20 Slam titles to his identify.
The injured Swiss nice just isn’t enjoying and can solely return to the tour in Doha in March.
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