ATP Cup 2021: Novak Djokovic makes good begin with win over Denis Shapovalov; Dominic Thiem suffers defeat

ATP Cup 2021: Novak Djokovic makes good begin with win over Denis Shapovalov; Dominic Thiem suffers defeat

Djokovic confirmed no indicators of being hindered by a nasty blister on his racquet hand that troubled him at an Adelaide exhibition final week and returned half-hour later alongside Filip Frajinovic to play the decisive doubles rubber.

ATP Cup 2021: Novak Djokovic makes perfect start with win over Denis Shapovalov; Dominic Thiem suffers defeat

Novak Djokovic celebrates after defeating Canada’s Denis Shapovalov of their ATP Cup match in Melbourne. AP

Melbourne: Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic bought his season off to an ideal begin with a battling win over hot-shot Denis Shapovalov within the ATP Cup Tuesday, however world quantity three Dominic Thiem crashed to defeat.

The Serbian world primary, who can be chasing a ninth Australian Open crown when the primary Grand Slam of the 12 months begins on Monday, was pushed onerous earlier than coming by way of 7-5, 7-5 towards the Canadian on Rod Laver Enviornment

Djokovic confirmed no indicators of being hindered by a nasty blister on his racquet hand that troubled him at an Adelaide exhibition final week and returned half-hour later alongside Filip Frajinovic to play the decisive doubles rubber.

The pair beat Shapovalov and Milos Raonic 7-5, 7-6 (7/4) as defending champions Serbia took the tie towards Canada 2-1 in Group A.

“It was an important opening of the season. Enjoying Shapo is at all times an important problem on hardcourts, he’s such a dynamic, explosive participant,” mentioned Djokovic, who was fired up by taking part in in entrance of a smattering of noisy Serbian followers.

“I believed we each performed on a fairly excessive stage, so I am actually happy with the best way I began the season.

“It is a nice competitors,” added Djokovic, who gained all eight matches he contested en path to the trophy final 12 months.

“We’d like extra competitions the place we characterize a staff, characterize our nation.”

Serbia beat Rafael Nadal’s Spain within the closing of the inaugural and massively common event final 12 months in Sydney – launched as a rival to the Davis Cup.

It has been slimmed down from 24 groups to 12 this 12 months because of the coronavirus with all matches at Melbourne Park over 5 days with US$7.5 million at stake, reasonably than the multi-city format employed in 2020.

Spain face a troublesome opening tie later Tuesday towards hosts Australia, with Nadal up towards fast-improving Alex de Minaur.

On a cool day, big-serving Raonic bought Canada off to a blistering begin, crushing Dusan Lajovic 6-3, 6-4 in simply 79 minutes to present his staff a 1-0 lead, with the previous world quantity three, now ranked 15, dropping simply eight factors on serve whereas sending down 11 aces.

It was left to Djokovic to stage the tie earlier than clinching the doubles rubber.

The Alexander Zverev-led Germany are additionally in Group A and play Wednesday.

Thiem tumbles

Whereas Djokovic tasted victory, US Open champion Thiem, who misplaced to the Serb in a gripping Australian Open closing final 12 months, bought his season off to a disappointing begin.

He slumped 6-2, 6-4 to Italian world quantity 10 Matteo Berrettini who by no means allowed the Austrian to get going along with his big-swinging sport.

“I am very pleased clearly for myself, however on this competitors we’re taking part in for a staff, so it is very nice,” Berrettini mentioned. “I am actually proud of my efficiency.

“Enjoying to your nation is one thing particular.”

Berrettini was beneath stress after Austria took the lead of their Group C conflict when A hundredth-ranked Dennis Novak earned one of many largest wins of his profession, upsetting world quantity 17 Fabio Fognini 6-3, 6-2.

It despatched the tie to a deciding doubles with Thiem returning alongside Novak solely to crash once more, shedding 6-1, 6-4 to Berrettini and Fognini.

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