Roberto Bautista Agut started the Spanish New Year perfectly on Saturday with a smashing ATP Cup win over Chilean No. 17 in the world, Christian Garin, as he captains the team in the absence of Rafael Nadal. The 33-year-old, who is two places below Garin, barely broke a sweat in the 6-0, 6-3 win at Sydney’s Ken Rosewall Arena, which saw Spain win their Group A draw on day one of the season-opening tournament. .
“I played a very solid game, good rhythm and good speed,” he said. “I’m very happy because I won my point for the team.”
Nine-time ATP Tour title list Bautista Agut was part of the Nadal-led Spain team that made it to the final at the inaugural team event in 2020, when they were defeated by Serbia’s Novak Djokovic.
He is this time the lead singles player after 20-time Grand Slam champion Nadal chose to play an Australian Open run-up event in Melbourne instead.
It was doubtful whether Nadal would make it to Australia at all after he tested positive for the corona virus after a practice tournament in Abu Dhabi last month.
But he tweeted a photo of himself on an empty track in Melbourne Park late Friday with the caption: “Don’t tell anyone… here I am.”
A number of other players in Abu Dhabi also tested positive, including world number five Andrey Rublev, who is out of the ATP Cup.
Defending champions Russia, which defeated Italy in the final last year, will start their campaign against France on Sunday.
Spain’s number two, the 20th Pablo Carreno Busta, previously came to 6-4, 7-6 (7/4) against Chilean Alejandro Tabilo and fought back from a 3-0 deficit in both sets.
Each draw consists of two singles matches and one doubles match, with the winning country from each of the four groups reaching the semi-finals.
In the other morning game, Argentina drove past Georgia, with world No. 13 Diego Schwartzman beating 22nd Nikoloz Basilashvili 6-1, 6-2.
His teammate Federico Delbonis enjoyed a memorable tournament debut beating Aleksandre Metreveli by the same score.
“It’s always very difficult to start a draw, so I was very happy when Federico beat his opponent very quickly, very easily,” said Schwartzman.
“So it was comfortable for me to start the second point with already a win for the team.”
In the evening, Serbia – without Djokovic – will kick off against the Norway of Casper Ruud in group A, while the Greece of Stefanos Tsitsipas will take on Poland in group D.
(This story was not edited by DailyExpertNews staff and was generated automatically from a syndicated feed.)
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