Defeating Roberto Bautista Agut at the ATP Cup is a difficult task, which Casper Ruud learned the hard way on Monday.
Bautista Agut improved to 9-2 in singles at the team event with a 6-4, 7-6(4) victory against Ruud, which clinched Spain’s triumph against Norway. The 33-year-old won 92 per cent of his first-serve points and did not face a break point.
“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.”
Last year, Ruud showed that he is more than just a clay-court stalwart. In fact, he excelled on hard courts, advancing to the semi-finals of the Nitto ATP Finals in Turin. But he struggled to crack Bautista Agut’s baseline armour. The Spaniard was more solid throughout the match and did not let slip his focus.
“I feel happy. I like playing in Australia. I think I play some of my best tennis here every year,” Bautista Agut said. “It was not easy to manage the finish of 2021. It’s a good start and I feel very good.”
Spain is now 2-0 at this year’s ATP Cup, having also defeated Chile in Group A action. They will try to remain perfect on Wednesday against Serbia.
Photo Credit: Peter Staples/ATP Tour
Pablo Carreno Busta made a quick start for his country when he dismissed Norway’s Viktor Durasovic 6-3, 6-3 in 69 minutes.
“It’s always important to win the first match. 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 on-court 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.”
Carreno Busta is now 4-1 in singles in his ATP Cup career. He has not lost a set in this edition, having beaten Chile’s Alejandro Tabilo on Saturday.
World No. 345 Durasovic put forth a good effort and showed potential higher than his ATP Ranking, but former Top 10 star Carreno Busta was too solid. The Spaniard did not face a break point.
“All the people here play really good. It’s never easy to win these kind of matches,” Carreno Busta said. “Happy for the level, because it was better than the first day.”