Chile earned its first ATP Cup tie victory on Monday when Tomas Barrios Vera and Alejandro Tabilo clinched the doubles decider, following on from Cristian Garin’s No. 1 singles match win against 2020 champion Serbia in Group A.
Barrios Vera and Tabilo defeated Nikola Cacic and Matej Sabanov of Serbia 6-4, 3-6, 10-7 in 86 minutes that ended at 12:30am local time in Sydney. Garin had dug deep to beat Dusan Lajovic, who retired at 0-3 down in the third set of their lengthy clash on Qudos Bank Arena, after Filip Krajinovic had beaten Tabilo 6-4, 3-6, 7-6(5) in the No. 2 singles match.
“It was a great match with Krajinovic and I just needed to find the motivation again, once Cristian won his match,” said Tabilo, after partnering Barrios Vera in the doubles match.
Chile, with a 1-1 record after its loss to Spain on Sunday, now challenges Casper Ruud’s Norway on Wednesday. Serbia meets Spain in a repeat of the inaugural 2020 final.
Garin was leading 6-4, 4-6, 3-0 against Lajovic, when the Serbian retired after two hours and 14 minutes. There had been 23 break points and seven breaks of serve in the first set alone. “We played an amazing match and I feel sorry for Dusan,” said Garin, after his first ATP Cup singles win. “It was so tough. I was going point-by-point in the second set and I’m so grateful to the Chilean support in the crowd.”
Lajovic appeared to be building up a head of steam in the first set by winning three straight games for a 4-2 lead that, incredibly, was the start of five straight service breaks. Ultimately, Lajovic’s greater hard-court proficiency won through in a tough 60-minute set that ended with the 31-year-old hitting a forehand crosscourt approach winner.
The second set, in contrast, was settled and largely serve-dominated. Garin did save two break points in a lengthy hold in the second game, but that was the only drama through to 4-4 when Lajovic tightened up out of the blue and gifted Garin the break. With Lajovic starting to cramp, Garin calmly closed out for a decider.
Nine years ago in their only ATP Head2Head meeting, Garin had beaten Lajovic 6-3, 6-4 for the first ATP Tour match of his career at 2013 Vina del Mar.
Krajinovic drew on his experience to beat Tabilo, currently No. 139 in the ATP Rankings, over two hours and 26 minutes in the Qudos Bank Arena.
“I was controlling the match up a set and a break, then he began to play better and made some unbelievable passing shots,” said Krajinovic. “I got tight, which is normal when you play for your country. At the end, he came up with some big serves and I’m very proud to have won. It means a lot to start the year well.”
Krajinovic broke through at 3-3 in the first set, when good scrambling resulted in a low backhand winner. The World No. 42 won 14 of 17 points at the net and closed out the 40-minute opener with an ace down the T.
When his best shots came back, Tabilo went for more power and it cost him in the first game of the second set. But credit to the 24-year-old, he kept fighting and won five straight games – breaking serve courtesy of Krajinovic groundstroke errors at 1-2 and 2-3. Tabilo went onto convert his third set point with a forehand winner, his 22nd winner of the 41-minute set.
The decider was full of momentum swings, at first for Tabilo with an early service break and then Krajinovic, who opened up a 3-1 advantage. Tabilo recovered and forced Krajinovic to save a break point with a forehand winner at 5-5. When it came to the crunch though in the tie-break, Krajinovic did just enough to complete victory in two hours and 26 minutes.