A clinical performance from Spain has seen them ease past Norway on day three of the ATP Cup at Qudos Bank Arena.
Roberto Bautista Agut sealed the tie for Spain, overcoming Norwegian World No. 8 Casper Ruud in straight sets 6-4, 7-6(4).
Capitalising on some loose shots from Ruud, Bautista Agut was able to get a crucial break of serve in the 7th game of the first set and from there he was able to hold serve and close out the set.
Both men had no issues on serve in the second set until Bautista Agut was able to gain a mini-break in the tiebreak to seal a very impressive victory.
Bautista Agut was delighted with his performance and pleased he was able to get a victory over a Top 10 player so early in the season.
“Casper is playing unbelievable tennis, (he did) an unbelievable performance last year, and today I played very good,” Bautista Agut said in his on-court interview.
“I returned very well, I made very few unforced errors and I played aggressively. I try to play matches like this and that is why I am practising hard and I am trying to show this level.”
Earlier in the day, Spain’s Pablo Carreno Busta accounted for World No. 345 Viktor Durasovic 6-3, 6-3 in just over an hour. Durasovic showed glimpses of his potential but was ultimately no match for the 2021 Olympic bronze medallist.
“Today I felt more and more comfortable than the first day. It’s normal. We need to get the rhythm, we need to get the confidence," Carreno Busta said in his post-match interview.
"But today, I felt better and better. At the beginning maybe he missed too much, but after that, he started to play really, really good and it was a close match.”
In the doubles, the Spanish pairing of Alejandro Davidovich Fokina and Pedro Martinez eased past Norway’s Lukas Hellum-Lilleengen and Andreja Petrovic 6-1, 6-4.
In the day’s other tie, Poland breezed past Georgia to record an easy win on Ken Roswell Arena.
In the opening match of the tie, Poland’s World No. 117 Kamil Majchrzak barely raised a sweat as he swept aside Georgia’s Aleksandre Bakshi 6-1 6-1 in just under an hour.
Majchrzak is currently ranked 700 places higher than Bakshi and the disparity in the rankings was on full display as the Georgian never managed to get into the match.
Post-match Majchrzak expressed his delight at the strong comradery with the Polish team as well as the strong support they’ve been receiving in Sydney.
“We have a pretty strong team here and we have the Polish community living here in Sydney, we feel like we’re playing in Poland so I’m very happy about it,” Majchrzak said.
Majchrzak also praised the work of his coach for helping him make improvements to his game.
“We’re still trying to improve my offence game, but he brings me a lot of confidence and a lot of calm in my tennis so I can feel like improving whenever I am healthy,” Majchrzak added.
Polish World No. 9 Hubert Hurkacz sealed the tie for Poland with a 6-7(5), 6-3, 6-1 win over Georgian World No. 570 Aleksandre Metreveli.
Metreveli defied his lowly ranking to push Hurkacz all the way in a tight first set.
Hurkacz was able to put the disappointment of the first set behind him to breeze through the next two sets. He broke in the first game of the second set and never looked back.
Post-match, Hurkacz was full of praise for his inexperienced opponent.
“Aleksandre played really good tennis, especially in the first set,” Hurkacz said.
Hurkacz acknowledged he didn’t start well but was delighted to have improved as the match progressed.
“Things weren’t really going my way, I wanted to play better but I had a slower start, so I am proud that every single set I played better,” Hurkacz added.
In the doubles, Zielinski and Walkow prevailed 10-6 in a match tiebreak over Bakshi and Tkemaladze to complete the clean sweep for Poland.