Spain, Argentina secure opening wins at ATP Cup

Even without Rafael Nadal, who's preparation for the Australian Open has been disrupted by a positive test for coronavirus, Spain showed why they are among the favoured teams at the tournament.

Argentina beat Georgia 3-0, while Spain easily accounted for Chile by the same margin in the opening ties of the team-based tournament being played across two Sydney stadiums.

Spain and Argentina have both won their ATP Cup ties with some ease as men’s professional tennis returned for the 2022 season in the lucrative team tournament at Sydney’s Olympic Park.

Spain’s Roberto Bautista Agut and Pablo Carreno Busta made light of the absence of Rafa Nadal with contrasting victories over Chileans Cristian Garín and Alejandro Tabilo on Saturday.,52001019.html

Carreno Busta was forced to come from 0-3 down in both sets, and again from 1-3 in the decisive tiebreak, before overcoming tricky lefthander Tabilo 6-4 7-6 (4) in the first match of the year on Ken Rosewall Arena.

Bautista Agut then steamrollered world number 17 Garin 6-0 6-3 to give the Spaniards an unassailable lead in the Group A tie ahead of the doubles rubber.

“It was very early on the first day of the year to play tennis,” said Bautista Agut, the world number 19.

“Today was a good start for me, I played a very solid game, I felt had a good rhythm, a good speed on the ball, I’m really happy.”

Federico Delbonis earlier made light work of Aleksandre Metreveli with a 6-1 6-2 win at the Sydney Super Dome to give Argentina a 1-0 lead in their Group D tie against Georgia.

Diego Schwartzman then trounced Nikoloz Basilashvili by the same score before Maximo Gonzalez and Andres Molteni beat Zura Tkemaladze and Saba Purtseladze, again 6-1 6-2, in the doubles.

The third edition of the $10 million tournament has 16 teams divided into four groups playing at two venues at Sydney’s Olympic Park.

Major players absent

The absence of Novak Djokovic, Nadal and Roger Federer for various reasons has robbed the event of some sparkle, but 14 of the world’s top 20 players are in action as they prepare for the start of the Australian Open on Jan. 17.

World number four Stefanos Tsitsipas will get his 2022 campaign underway in Greece’s cause against Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz in Group D later on Saturday.

Daniil Medvedev, second in the world rankings behind Djokovic, will represent reigning champions Russia in their opening Group B tie against France on Sunday. 

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