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Hurkacz Upsets Thiem, Clinches Tie For Poland

  • Posted: Jan 08, 2020

Hurkacz Upsets Thiem, Clinches Tie For Poland

Polish No. 1 eliminates Austria from Final Eight contention

Hubert Hurkacz upset World No. 4 Dominic Thiem 3-6, 6-4, 7-6(5) on Wednesday in Sydney to clinch Poland’s first tie victory at the inaugural ATP Cup. 

Austria was clinging to its hopes of winning Group E and advancing to the Final Eight. But with Hurkacz’s win, Austria is eliminated from the competition, and the winner of tonight’s clash in Sydney between Argentina and Croatia will top the group and reach the Final Eight.

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It has been a successful singles week for Hurkacz in Sydney, going 3-0 with all of his opponents ranked inside the Top 30 of the FedEx ATP Rankings. The 22-year-old also defeated Argentina’s Diego Schwartzman and Croatia’s Borna Coric. Hurkacz now leads Thiem 2-0 in their ATP Head2Head series, having defeated the Austrian in Miami last year.

Earlier in the day, Kacper Zuk became the lowest-ranked singles player to win a match at the ATP Cup, as the World No. 448 rallied past Dennis Novak 5-7, 7-6(3), 6-3 to give Poland a 1-0 lead. 

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Zuk battled hard against former World No. 3 Marin Cilic on Monday, pushing the Croat to a tie-break in the first set. But while he did not get through that match, he wouldn’t be denied again.

The #NextGenATP player saved nine of the 13 break points he faced to triumph after two hours and 33 minutes. The Pole showed no nerves as he served out the match, attacking the Austrian relentlessly with his forehand on match point until Novak shoveled a backhand passing shot wide.

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Nadal, Bautista Agut Send Team Spain Into Final Eight

  • Posted: Jan 08, 2020

Nadal, Bautista Agut Send Team Spain Into Final Eight

Bautista Agut extends winning streak; Spain now travels to Sydney

Rafael Nadal secured Team Spain’s spot in the Fight Eight as Group B winners on Wednesday at the ATP Cup, but he was made to work extremely hard for the tie victory against Team Japan.

Tennis fans turned out in force at the RAC Arena, to witness the World No. 1 twice recover a break deficit in the first set, before overcoming Yoshihito Nishioka 7-6(4), 6-4 in a tremendous battle over two hours and eight minutes in Perth.

Earlier in the day, World No. 9 Roberto Bautista Agut also extended his winning start to the 2020 ATP Tour season with a 6-2, 6-4 victory over Go Soeda in the first singles rubber.

Nadal, Bautista Agut, Pablo Carreno Busta, Albert Ramos-Vinolas, Feliciano Lopez and captain Francisco Roig will now travel to Sydney, where Spain will prepare to play a tie during Friday’s night session.

Japan, with a 2-1 ties record in Group B, must now win the doubles match in order to remain in contention for the Final Eight as one of the best second-placed teams.

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Nishioka insisted he was confident in facing Nadal two days prior to the tie, with memories of beating Kei Nishikori at the Western & Southern Open in August last year. However, a player needs to produce on the day. Nishioka did and forced Nadal to draw upon his big-match experience.

World No. 72 Nishioka was the first to break serve at 2-2 in the first set, but Nadal responded. At 4-4, a double fault and backhand wide from Nadal handed Nishioka the opportunity to serve for the set, but Nadal again broke back during a run of eight straight points. In the tie-break, Nadal applied the pressure, putting a lot of work on the ball to win four of the first five points en route to clinching the 66-minute opener.

Undeterred, Nishioka continued to earn the support of the largely pro-Spain crowd. Nadal’s weight of shot didn’t appear to physically wear down the Japanese, as it had so many opponents, and, having saved one break point at 2-2, Nishioka came within a point of a 4-2 lead on three occasions. Nadal raised his game and broke to 15, with a forehand approach winner, for a 5-4 advantage, and minutes later completed his third singles win of the inaugural tournament.

After the match, in an on-court ceremony, Nadal was presented with the 2019 Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award for the third time (also 2010 and 2018).

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Bautista Agut

In the first singles match, Bautista Agut methodically broke down Soeda’s game. The World No. 9 extended his winning start to the 2020 ATP Tour season with a 6-2, 6-4 victory over Soeda, who’d won his two previous singles matches, in 79 minutes.

“Today was, I think, the most difficult match,” said Bautista Agut. “I think it was also the first match with the sun, with the heat. The ball felt much different, flying more and the court was faster. I had more difficulties today, and I think I handled it well.”

Soeda’s opportunity for a win was fleeting when leading Bautista Agut 2-1, with the Spaniard serving at 0/30, courtesy of a fine backhand volley winner at close quarters. But from that moment on, Bautista Agut won 21 of the next 28 points to clinch the 32-minute opener and decisively broke serve in a 12-point fifth game of the second set.

“I had a feeling [it was a big moment], but at that moment I needed more be cool,” said Soeda. “He looks like he has no weapons, but he was everywhere. He’s fast and makes no mistakes. I was feeling the pressure… but it was a different type of nerves from the first two matches I played.”

Japan had beaten Georgia and Uruguay in its two previous Group B ties.

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Lajovic Guides Serbia To Early Brisbane Lead

  • Posted: Jan 08, 2020

Lajovic Guides Serbia To Early Brisbane Lead

Serbia will play on Friday in the Final Eight

Dusan Lajovic on Wednesday put Serbia within a match win of finishing group play at the ATP Cup unbeaten. The country’s No. 2 singles player beat Chile’s Nicolas Jarry 6-2, 7-6(3) to conclude his Group A singles matches with a 2-1 record.

Lajovic won 56 per cent of Jarry’s second-serve points and broke three times for the 94-minute win.

Serbia is looking to start 3-0 at the inaugural ATP Cup, being played in Brisbane, Perth and Sydney. The tournament moves exclusively to Sydney on Thursday for the Final Eight. Serbia will compete in the Final Eight on Friday against a to be determined opponent.

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Muster On The Strategy Room: 'Once You Have The Technology, You Must Use It'

  • Posted: Jan 08, 2020

Muster On The Strategy Room: ‘Once You Have The Technology, You Must Use It’

Austrian captain reveals how he has used this ATP Cup innovation with his team

Former World No. 1 Thomas Muster is using all the tools at his disposal as the captain of Team Austria at the ATP Cup. One of those tools is an innovation at the inaugural 24-country event: the Strategy Room.

“You don’t have that all the time. Once you have the technology, you must use it, because the guys, sometimes they play and they don’t understand why something happened,” Muster said. “Because you’re playing, you’re tense, you’re tight, you’re focussing on different things and you lose track of a few things and then you sit down, not right after the match, but the next day when everybody calms down in the cool atmosphere.”

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Muster isn’t trying to reinvent the wheel in the Strategy Room. Instead, the 44-time tour-level titlist, who tends to lead the discussion for his country, looks back at some mistakes his players might have made to help them work on those things in practice.

“You just tell the players, ‘Look, these are the things that I think you should work on. You’re in the wrong position here, you should be further in or you should be doing this or that,’” Muster said. “Most of the time they come and say, ‘Oh, geez, I didn’t know I’m doing this. Now I can see much clearer.’

“You do that before practice because that shows the guys before what they can work on and most of the time we go out like an hour later and straight away start to work on those skills and also the mistakes they’re making. A lot of the time they’re very motivated to do that, so it’s just a very good opportunity.”

Austria must defeat Poland 3-0 to have a chance to win Group E and automatically qualify for the Final Eight. In that scenario, Argentina would need to beat Croatia 3-0.

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"I'm Happy To Be Here For Another Year": Wawrinka Starts 2020 With Win In Doha

  • Posted: Jan 07, 2020

“I’m Happy To Be Here For Another Year”: Wawrinka Starts 2020 With Win In Doha

2008 Doha finalist next meets Bedene

Top seed Stan Wawrinka enjoyed a strong start in his first singles match of the 2020 ATP Tour season, defeating Frenchman Jeremy Chardy 6-3, 6-4 on Tuesday at the Qatar ExxonMobil Open in Doha.

Wawrinka, who also teamed up with Frances Tiafoe for a first-round win Monday in doubles, saved six of seven break points faced on serve while capitalising on three of his nine opportunities for the 87-minute victory. He improved to a perfect 7-0 record against Chardy.

“I’m really happy with the first match of the season after a few months without playing matches,” said Wawrinka, the 2008 Doha finalist. “I think the level was good. I was really focussed, moving well also.”

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The 34-year-old Swiss, who reached a career-high World No. 3 in 2014, is still going strong many years after first turning pro (2002). Overcoming struggles with knee injuries and surgery in 2017, Wawrinka enjoyed another strong campaign in 2019 as he finished the season at No. 16 in the FedEx ATP Rankings and earned a nomination for Comeback Player of the Year.

“I’m happy to be still playing at good level,” he said. “I’m happy to be here for another year and hopefully a good one for me.”

Wawrinka will next meet Aljaz Bedene, who advanced to the quarter-finals with a 6-3, 7-5 win over Alexander Bublik. Wawrinka and Bedene will be facing off for a fifth time, and for a fourth time in the opening week of the season. They met three straight years in Chennai, splitting their first two meetings in the 2013-14 quarter-finals before Wawrinka triumphed in the 2015 final.

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In first-round action Tuesday, eighth-seeded American Tiafoe succumbed to Hungarian qualifier Marton Fucsovics 6-4, 4-6, 6-4. Fifth seed Laslo Djere closed out a 6-1, 3-6, 6-2 victory over Italian Lorenzo Sonego, and Turkish wild card Cem Ilkel defeated Ricardas Berankis 6-2, 4-6, 6-2.

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10 Takeaways From Day 5 At The ATP Cup

  • Posted: Jan 07, 2020

10 Takeaways From Day 5 At The ATP Cup

A look back at the most memorable moments from Day 5

Action in Groups C, D and F was completed on Day 5 at the ATP Cup, with 12 countries contesting their final group stage ties. With Russia and Great Britain confirming their places alongside Australia and Serbia in the final eight and a number of countries battling to finish as one of the two best second-place finishers, fans in Brisbane, Perth and Sydney were treated to an action-packed day at the ATP Cup.

Here are 10 of the biggest takeaways from Day 5:

1) Russia Books Sydney Spot: Karen Khachanov and Daniil Medvedev once again proved to be the perfect singles combination for Russia, with both men claiming their third singles victories in Group D to take the top spot. Khachanov dropped just three games to cruise past Viktor Durasovic, before Medvedev moved past Casper Ruud 6-3, 7-6(6).

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2) Great Britain Tops Group: Great Britain sweeped all six sets against Moldova to win Group C. After Cameron Norrie’s 6-2, 6-2 win against Alexander Cozbinov, Daniel Evans beat Radu Albot by the same margin. Jamie Murray and Joe Salisbury almost made it three 6-2, 6-2 victories, overcoming Albot and Cozbinov 6-2, 6-3.

3) Undefeated Aussies: Australia made it nine out of nine in Brisbane to head to Sydney with full confidence. John Millman and Nick Kyrgios both edged their singles encounters in final-set tie-breaks, with Millman defeating Michail Pervolarakis 4-6, 6-1, 7-6(1) and Kyrgios overcoming Stefanos Tsitsipas 7-6(7), 6-7(3), 7-6(5).

4) Brisbane Classic: Kyrgios and Tsitsipas produced one of the matches of the ATP Cup at Pat Rafter Arena on Tuesday night. The two-hour, 34-minute contest featured no breaks of serve, 43 aces and a selection of highlight-reel points.

5) Belgium In Pole Position: Following Sander Gille and Joran Vliegen’s decisive 3-6, 6-4, 10-7 win against Grigor Dimitrov and Alexandar Lazarov, Belgium finished Group C in second place. Before Day 6 play, Belgium currently owns the best record among the second-placed teams. The two best second-placed finishers will advance to the Final Eight in Sydney.

6) Bulgarian Heartbreak: Bulgaria entered its final Group C tie against Belgium with its fate in its own hands. But Dimitrov’s men could not find a way past Belgium to top Group C. Dimitar Kuzmanov started the tie with a dominant 6-0, 6-3 win against Steve Darcis, before David Goffin’s three-set triumph against Dimitrov. Gille and Vliegen’s doubles win over Dimitrov and Lazarov pushed Bulgaria into third position in Group C.

7) Canada In The Mix: Canada currently occupies the second-best record among the second-placed teams after securing a 2-1 win against Germany. After Jan-Lennard Struff beat Felix Auger-Aliassime 6-1, 6-4, Denis Shapovalov levelled the tie with an impressive 6-2, 6-2 triumph against Alexander Zverev. The 2019 Rolex Paris Masters runner-up returned to the court with Auger-Aliassime to defeat Kevin Krawietz and Andreas Mies 6-3, 7-6(4).

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8) Italy Out: Italy went out of the ATP Cup in style on Day 5, dropping just one set to defeat the United States 3-0. After Stefano Travaglia upset Taylor Fritz 7-6(3), 7-6(1), Fabio Fognini overcame John Isner 6-4, 7-6(5). Simone Bolelli and Fognini ended Italy’s campaign with a 6-4, 6-7(5), 10-3 victory against Austin Krajicek and Rajeev Ram. Italy cannot qualify for the Final Eight as fellow second-placed countries Belgium and Canada own better records heading into Day 6.

9) ‘It’s Really Cool’: During Albot and Cozbinov’s doubles loss to Murray and Salisbury, Team Moldova requested a Video Review following a foot-fault call against Cozbinov. It was at this point that Albot decided he wanted to get a closer look at the technology, climbing umpire Aurelie Tourte’s chair to examine the evidence for himself.

10) Over And Out: Seven countries exited the ATP Cup on Day 5 after completing their final group stage ties. In Group A, Germany and Greece left the competition, while Bulgaria and Moldova ended their campaigns in Group C. Group D contenders Italy, Norway and the United States were also eliminated.

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Kyrgios Beats Tsitsipas To Clinch 3-0 Start For Aussies

  • Posted: Jan 07, 2020

Kyrgios Beats Tsitsipas To Clinch 3-0 Start For Aussies

Aussies heading to Sydney for Final Eight

Bolstered by a raucous Aussie crowd, Nick Kyrgios made the host country a perfect 3-0 at the ATP Cup on Tuesday night, beating World No. 6 Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece for the second time 7-6(7), 6-7(3), 7-6(5).

Kyrgios saw a break point come and go midway through the third, but regrouped in the tie-break, delivering a barrage of forehands and mixing in delicate drop shots to keep Tsitsipas off balance. On match point, he blitzed a backhand return winner down the line before falling to his back and soaking in the shouts from the Brisbane crowd.

Australia, who clinched Group F on Sunday, will head to Sydney for the Final Eight, where it will play the opening quarter-final against Great Britain (Thursday, 10am, buy tickets). The Aussies enter the knockout phase with heaps of momentum as the green and gold look to keep the inaugural ATP Cup title on home soil.

I served really well in big moments but the atmosphere was awesome. We’re carrying some momentum going to Sydney. It could have been easy to take your foot off the gas today. I thought both the Greeks showed up and I think they really wanted to win this tie, but I was happy we both got it done today,” Kyrgios said.

Australian team wins Group F Kyrgios, filling for Aussie No. 1 singles player Alex de Minaur (abdominal strain), cooked up his usual repertoire – tweeners, no-look drop shots and a load of aces – to push Tsitsipas to 1-2 on the season and Greece to 0-3 at the ATP Cup. Frustration set in for Tsitsipas, who was looking to carry his country to an upset after a near-miss against Germany on Sunday night.

In the second set, at 1-1, Ad-In on Kyrgios’ serve, Tsitsipas was given a point penalty for hitting a ball at the Greek Team Zone, which finished off the third game of the second set. But the reigning Nitto ATP Finals champion and Kyrgios compiled a match to remember for the rest of the night.

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Together, they combined for 115 winners, including 43 aces, and neither player dropped serve (0/3 on break points). As the Aussie fan section “We The People” banged its drum courtside, Tsitsipas and the Greek fans shouting “Stefanos!” between points very much seemed like visitors trying to pull off an upset in enemy territory.

They came close. Tsitsipas, after losing the first-set tie-break, returned the favour in the second set to force a decider, where Tsitsipas saved a break point at 3-3, 30/40, the first break point either player saw since the third game of the second set.

But at 5/5 in the third-set tie-break, Kyrgios stymied Tsitsipas with a big second serve, and the Aussie unloaded on his next return for the win. The 24-year-old Aussie won their only other ATP Head2Head meeting 6-4, 3-6, 7-6(7) last year in the Citi Open semi-finals in Washington, D.C.

“We had a difficult draw here in Brisbane, but we played with what we have,” Tsitsipas said. “Canada, Australia… Germany, one of the strongest nations in the game, playing against a small, tiny little nation like Greece, which has no history in tennis at all? You got to feel proud. We fought very hard and we wanted to prove to the rest of the world that [we] can play tennis anywhere in the world.”

John Millman avoided what would have been the upset of the ATP Cup to give the Aussies the lead.

The 30-year-old, playing the role substitute for the second tie in a row, dug deep against No. 486 Michail Pervolarakis, a 23-year-old who was seeking his first ATP Tour win after going 7-8 on the ATP Challenger Tour last season, to win 4-6, 6-1, 7-6(1).

The 6’4” Greek was swinging freely, but Millman saved a break point in the seventh game of the third set and was steady in the tie-break.

We came here to Brisbane to do a job. So today was nice,” Australia captain Lleyton Hewitt said. “The quality of tennis was fantastic today and to be able to get through those two matches when the boys could have easily have taken their foot off the pedal today, and that’s not what we’re about. And when you wear the green and gold it’s not what it’s about. So I think everyone can be pretty proud of these two today.”

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Muster On ATP Cup: 'I Might As Well Have A Couch Here'

  • Posted: Jan 07, 2020

Muster On ATP Cup: ‘I Might As Well Have A Couch Here’

Muster explains his mindset as captain of Team Austria in Sydney.

Team Austria finished its second tie of the ATP Cup in Sydney at 12:01am Tuesday. The country’s captain, Thomas Muster, celebrated with his team, did a television interview, made sure his players were taken care of, before eventually heading back to his hotel — nearly 30 minutes away — in the early hours of the morning.

At 11am that same day, Muster was in tournament transportation back to the Sydney Olympic Park Tennis Centre with his tennis bag in tow. Among the activities for his team were a 1pm Strategy Room session (one hour) and a 3pm practice (90 minutes). This is on his country’s off day.

“I don’t really need a hotel, I should just be staying here because there are so few hours of sleep, I might as well have a couch here. That’s what it feels like,” Muster told ATPTour.com. “I haven’t seen anything [in Sydney] except New Year’s Eve fireworks, but that was about it. Other than that, I’ve only seen the courtesy cars, the hotel and pretty much this place. Fair enough, that’s what I’m here for. It’s not a holiday, we know that.

“I want the players to feel well and to be prepared well and that’s what I’m here for: to serve the players, to talk to them, to advise them.”

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To say Muster is taking his role as Austrian captain seriously would be a major understatement. The former World No. 1 is doing everything in his power to put his country in position to win.

“I always enjoy being around tennis. That’s me. But looking at the event, I think it’s amazing the way it’s organised around the country. It’s great to see,” Muster said. “If you look at the intensity the guys have, the way they’re supporting the teams, the captains, but also the players, is very professional. It’s on a very high level.”

Perhaps nobody has been more intense and emotional than Muster himself. From leading Strategy Room and practice sessions to cheering his players on from the Team Zone, the lefty has given the Austrians everything he has. Muster has been notably vocal with his players during changeovers, even during doubles matches that have come after the tie has been decided. With every big shot and every big moment, Muster has been the first out of his seat.

On Monday evening, Austrian No. 2 Dennis Novak lost his first set 0-6 against gritty Argentine Guido Pella. The 26-year-old took a bathroom break after the set, with Muster walking alongside him on the way.

“It was a rough speech,” Novak said, cracking a smile. “But actually he just told me to start moving better, hitting the ball, going for it, not waiting for him to miss. And that’s what I changed. I think I stepped in the court, and I played some really good shots.”

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After Muster’s speech, Novak turned things around and defeated Pella en route to Austria’s 3-0 win against Argentina. Whatever the 1995 Roland Garros champion said — however strongly worded — worked.

“That shows that he really means it like this. So he’s not making a show or something or he just focusses on one player or on the doubles,” Novak said. “He’s really into every guy on the team, and that’s really important.”

World No. 4 Dominic Thiem is the superstar of Austria’s team, but not to Muster. The captain is treating everyone equally to help foster a sense of unity.

“They’re hearing a few things from me that they haven’t heard from anyone in particular, so we’re trying to work as a team. There’s nobody special on that team. We’re all the same, we’re all treated the same and that’s good. No stars,” Muster said. “I don’t accept any star attitude in there and I want everybody to work for the others. That’s how you get stronger as a team and it’s more appreciated, too. I don’t need primadonnas on my team.”

Many personal coaches in attendance at the ATP Cup have taken the lead in working with their respective player during matches. But even though Nicolas Massu is in Sydney, Muster has not been shy about helping coach Thiem through tough moments.

“He’s showing an incredible energy,” Thiem said. “It’s a big honour for us. I mean, he’s one of the greatest athletes from Austria of all-time. Have him on the bench, have all the tips from him, all the energy from him is really nice.”

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To Muster, his team’s togetherness has been one of the things that has stuck out. And he has enjoyed how everyone has given it their all for their country.

“I can only speak for my guys and they’re very intense, they very much love the team spirit. We all enjoy it because it doesn’t happen so many times,” Muster said. “I think especially coming out of [the] break, everybody has been practising and working on things. To come together and enjoy something like that and an event like this, it’s amazing. What’s so special is it’s all around the country. I’m very happy with what I see.”

Muster has put a lot of hard work into Team Austria at this inaugural event. But he doesn’t mind; if Muster commits himself to something, he dedicates himself to the max.

“If I’m just sitting watching tennis, I might as well do that just at home on television,” Muster said. “I want to be part of the team and the crew, I want the best for them and if I see they’re fighting and they’re giving it everything and every shot they have, it’s fair enough to support them. That’s why I do it.”

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Team Italy Secures Second Tie Win In Perth

  • Posted: Jan 07, 2020

Team Italy Secures Second Tie Win In Perth

Italians unable to qualify for the Final Eight in Sydney

Fabio Fognini and Stefano Travaglia both produced strong service performances to help Team Italy to its second tie victory on Tuesday in Group D at the ATP Cup in Perth.

Fognini broke a two-match losing streak at the inaugural tournament for the tie-clinching win by beating John Isner of Team United States for the first time, 6-4, 7-6(5) in 90 minutes, at the RAC Arena.

Travaglia had got the Italians off to a winning start with victory over Taylor Fritz in the first singles match. Simone Bolelli and Fognini then won the doubles 6-4, 6-7(5), 10-3 over Austin Krajicek and Rajeev Ram. United States finishes with an 0-3 ties record.

World No. 12 Fognini, who won 42 of his 43 first-service points, broke Isner’s serve in the ninth game of the first set, and saved his only break point at 0-1 in the second set. Isner hit 15 aces for a total of 52 aces in his three matches, ensuring $5,200 goes towards to the Australian Red Cross bushfire disaster relief fund.

“I couldn’t really penetrate on him at all,” said Isner. “It was tough out there. He passes so well. Conditions are maybe a little bit slow, so it’s tough to hit through the court, especially against a player like him. That’s what I was having issues at tonight.”

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Travaglia

Travaglia struck 43 winners, including 17 aces, to beat Taylor Fritz 7-6(3), 7-6(5) over one hour and 42 minutes.

“I was feeling good from the beginning,” said Travaglia. “I was feeling good with the return first and with my serve too – better than in the past two matches. I think I adapted very well in these conditions in the evening, no wind, no heat and it was slower. The courts were slower than the practice court… I think it is my best result of maybe the past two years. I’m very happy of this result.”

World No. 82 Travaglia won 94 per cent of his first-service points (44/47), and was quick to move up the court for winners in his first meeting against Fritz, who ends the inaugural tournament with a 1-2 singles record.

When Fritz was asked if he could do anything differently, the American said: “That’s what I’ve been trying to figure out for the past 20 minutes… From the ground, I think, maybe I just could have tried to be a little more aggressive, but with how worn out the balls were getting, I didn’t feel really confident driving the ball… I just felt in both those tie-breaks, I was just kind of playing within the margins that I felt comfortable playing in and not missing. And he was hurting me serving really well. So it’s one of those matches where I have to say, too good.”

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10 Things That Matter On Day 6 Of ATP Cup

  • Posted: Jan 07, 2020

10 Things That Matter On Day 6 Of ATP Cup

Groups A. B and E to complete the group stages

The group stages come to an end on Day 6 at the ATP Cup, with the four remaining spots at the Final Eight in Sydney up for grabs. The winners of Groups B and E will be decided, while the two best second-placed finishers will be confirmed.

Here are the 10 things that matter most ahead of Day 6 at the ATP Cup.

1) Final Eight Spots: Who will join Australia, Serbia, Russia and Great Britain in the Final Eight? The four remaining places will be taken on Day 6 as 12 nations complete their final group stage ties across Brisbane, Perth and Sydney.

2) Down To The Wire: With two Final Eight spots awarded to the best second-placed finishers across the six groups, Day 6 matches will take on added importance as countries attempt to end the group stages with the best possible records.

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3) Spain or Japan: The scenario is simple for Spain and Japan in Group B: win and you’re in. With both nations entering Day 6 with 2-0 records, the winner of the tie will finish as the unbeaten winner of Group B.

4) Group E Scenarios: With a win against Argentina, the top spot in Group E will belong to Croatia. If Argentina manages to claim a win, several scenarios come into play. The percentage of sets won could prove the deciding factor, with Argentina and Austria both in the running to qualify for the Final Eight as Group E winners.

5) Serbia v Chile: With Final Eight qualification secured, Serbia will meet Chile in its third Group A clash. Dusan Lajovic and Nicolas Jarry will open the tie at Pat Rafter Arena, with Novak Djokovic and Cristian Garin meeting in the No. 1 singles contest. Lajovic and Jarry split their two previous ATP Head2Head meetings, with both encounters requiring a decisive final set.

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6) France v South Africa: France and South Africa enter their final tie with 1-1 records, eager to clinch second place in Group A behind Serbia. Lloyd Harris and Benoit Paire meet in No. 2 singles, before Gael Monfils and Kevin Anderson contest their seventh ATP Head2Head clash. Monfils owns a 5-1 record against the South African, but Anderson claimed his lone victory in the pair’s most recent clash at Wimbledon in 2018.

7) Spain v Japan: Spain and Japan are both undefeated in singles play at the ATP Cup. One country will lose that record when Roberto Bautista Agut meets Go Soeda. Rafael Nadal or Yoshihito Nishioka will then have the opportunity to secure Final Eight qualification for their country. Nadal defeated Nishioka in straight sets in their maiden ATP Head2Head encounter in Acapulco in 2017.

8) Georgia v Uruguay: Nikoloz Basilashvili and Pablo Cuevas will meet in the evening session at RAC Arena as Georgia and Uruguay aim to finish Group B with their first tie victory. Basilashvili and Cuevas are tied at 1-1 in their ATP Head2Head rivalry.

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9) Austria v Poland: After Dennis Novak and Kacper Zuk’s No. 2 singles match, Dominic Thiem will face Hubert Hurkacz at Ken Rosewall Arena. At last year’s Miami Open presented by Itau, Hurkacz broke Thiem on four occasions to win in 77 minutes. In doubles, Hurkacz and Zuk will return to the court to face Oliver Marach and Jurgen Melzer.

10) Croatia v Argentina: In a crucial tie in Group E, Marin Cilic and Guido Pella open the night session in Sydney. Borna Coric will aim to improve his 2-1 ATP Head2Head record against Diego Schwartzman, before Ivan Dodig and Nikola Mektic face Maximo Gonzalez and Andres Molteni in doubles.

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