Pablo Carreno Busta earned his third consecutive win of the season Wednesday, overcoming Serbia’s Filip Krajinovic 6-3, 6-4 to book Spain’s place in the semi-finals at ATP Cup in Sydney.
Following Chile’s victory over Norway, Spain needed just one win in its final Group A tie against 2020 champion Serbia to secure a place in semi-finals, where it will play Poland.
In the No. 2 singles match, Carreno Busta, who defeated Alejandro Tabilo and Viktor Durasovic earlier this week, played aggressively against Krajinovic, firing 30 winners and breaking three times to triumph after 80 minutes.
“It was the best match of the group,” Carreno Busta said in his on-court interview. “I am close to 100 per cent. Today I played very well, very aggressively, very solid. I feel very comfortable on court, so it is going well.”
In a dominant performance, Carreno Busta stepped inside the baseline and demonstrated great footwork to dictate with his forehand on Ken Rosewall Arena to improve his ATP Head2Head series record against Krajanovic to 2-1.
“I was very focused on trying to do my best,” Carreno Busta added. “I know Filip is a great opponent. 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.”
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In the second match of the tie, Roberto Bautista Agut laid down a marker, moving past Dusan Lajovic 6-1, 6-4 to give Spain an unassailable 2-0 lead against Serbia.
“I had to play very well,” Bautista Agut said in his on-court interview. “It was very intense. 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.”
The World No. 19, who is making his third ATP Cup appearance, won 90 per cent (28/31) of his first-serve points and played consistently from the baseline to triumph after 84 minutes. With his victory, Bautista Agut has maintained his perfect record against Lajovic, extending his lead in their ATP Head2Head series to 5-0.
“The humidity on the court was very tough and we needed some matches coming from Europe,” Bautista Agut added. “I am really happy I have won three matches and that Spain is in the semi-finals.”
It is the second time the pair has met at ATP Cup, with Bautista Agut downing the World No. 33 in the championship match in 2020, before Novak Djokovic turned the tie around for Serbia.
In the final match of the tie, Serbian duo Nikola Cacic and Matej Sabanov edged Pedro Martinez and Albert Ramos-Vinolas 6-7(5), 6-3, 10-5 in one hour and 48 minutes.
ATP Cup format sees the No. 2 singles played first, followed by the No. 1 singles and the doubles. Doubles uses no-ad scoring and a Match Tie-break in place of a third set.
Each country plays three matches in group play from 1-6 January across Ken Rosewall Arena and Qudos Bank Arena at Sydney Olympic Park. One team emerges from each of the four groups to contest the two semi-finals, which will be split over two days (7-8 January), with the final played 9 January.
See the semi-final qualifying scenarios