Spain may be without Rafael Nadal at this year’s ATP Cup, but the absence of the 20-time Grand Slam champion doesn’t seem to be slowing them down.
Roberto Bautista Agut and Pablo Carreno Busta are yet to drop a set in Sydney and the pair were both impressive winners on Wednesday night.
World No. 20 Carreno Busta was up first on Ken Rosewall Arena where he was a 6-3, 6-4 victor over a gallant Filip Krajinovic in 80 minutes.
The Spaniard was at his aggressive best throughout the match, notching 30 winners and breaking his Serbian opponent three times.
Carreno Busta dictated from the baseline for much of the evening with his forehand often stifling any momentum swings in the direction of Krajinovic.
Post-match Carreno Busta noted that the challenge posed by Krajinovic was not one to be taken lightly.
“I know Filip is a great opponent,” he said. “He is very aggressive on return, but I think I served well, and I was very solid from the baseline, and I dominated more than him, which was the key.”
Up next, Roberto Bautista Agut and Dusan Lajovic clashed for the first time since their meeting in the final of the 2020 ATP Cup.
It was the Spaniard who took the points that night and it was a case of déjà vu for all concerned with Bautista Agut saluting 6-1, 6-4 in an hour and 24 minutes.
The World No. 19 won an astounding 90 per cent of points on his first serve and was a consistent force from the baseline.
“It was very intense,” Bautista Agut said after the match. “We had to play a lot of rallies because both of us made a lot of returns, so we had to play every point.”
“I am very happy to have won the match in two sets today.”
Spain’s singles domination did not extend to the doubles court however, with Team Serbia inflicting their first loss of the tournament.
Nikola Ćaćić and Matej Sabanov were not deterred after dropping the first set to ultimately run out 6-7(5), 6-3, [10-5] winners over Pedro Martínez and Albert Ramos-Viñolas in one hour and 36 minutes.
Spain will now take on Poland who secured their spot in the semi-finals after defeating Argentina on Wednesday afternoon.
Over on Qudos Bank Arena, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Greece ended their ATP Cup campaign on a high with a win over Georgia.
World No. 4 Tsitsipas was leading 4-1 in the first set of his match with Nikoloz Basilashvili before the Georgian was forced to retire due to breathing difficulties.
Tsitsipas, who is currently dealing with a health concern of his own, spoke post-match about his opponent’s retirement.
“It's not easy playing when you're not 100%,” Tsitsipas said. “I completely understand his situation.”
Earlier, 25-year-old Michail Pervolarakis put Greece in the box seat with a 6-3, 6-2 win over Aleksandre Metreveli in 68 minutes.
The victory marked a first for Pervolarakis on tour and the World No. 399 was understandably thrilled post-match.
“It’s unbelievable,” he said. “It’s my first ATP Tour singles match win.”
Pervolarakis won almost 40 per cent of the points he faced on return and did not face a single break point throughout the contest.
It didn’t all go the way of Greece on Wednesday night though as Team Georgia registered their first win of the ATP Cup in their final doubles rubber.
Aleksandre Bakshi and Aleksandre Metreveli combined to thwart Stefanos Tsitsipas and Michail Pervolarakis' push for a clean sweep 4-6, 6-3, [16-14] in one hour and 25 minutes.
There is still plenty to play for in terms of semi-final qualification on Thursday with Groups B and C both up for grabs.
Ken Rosewall Arena will play host to Russia and Italy in the day session before France and Australia commence battle in the evening.
Meanwhile, over at Qudos Bank Arena, Great Britain and the USA will meet prior to a clash between Germany and Canada.