ATP Cup: Spain qualify for the semifinals

Pablo Carreno Busta overcame Serbia’s Filip Krajinovic 6-3, 6-4 to book Spain’s place in the semi-finals at ATP Cup in Sydney.

Spain's Roberto Bautista beat Serbia's Dusan Lajovic 6-1, 6-4 in the ATP cup match; Credit: Twitter/@ATPCup

Pablo Carreno Busta overcame Serbia’s Filip Krajinovic 6-3, 6-4 to book Spain’s place in the semi-finals at ATP Cup in Sydney. Spain will meet Poland in the last-four stage. Following Chile’s win against Norway, Spain needed just one win in its final Group A tie against 2020 champions Serbia to go through to the next round. The winner between Daniil Medvedev’s defending champions Russia or the Matteo Berrettini-led Italy, last years finalists, will also book a semi-final berth when they meet on Thursday.

In the No.2 singles match Carreno Busta, who defeated Alejandro Tabilo and Viktor Durasovic earlier this week, toppled Krajinovic by playing some aggressive tennis, firing 30 winners and breaking three times to triumph after 80 minutes. Meanwhile in the first singles match, Roberto Bautista Agut rubbed Salt in Serbia’s wounds by cruising past Lajovic 6-1, 6-4.

“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.”

Carreno Busta dominated the 29-year-old Serb by stepping inside the baseline and demonstrated great footwork to dictate with his forehand at Ken Rosewall Arena to improve his ATP Head2 Head 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.”

Meanwhile Bautista also secured a convincing victory against Lajovic to give Spain an unassailable 2-0 lead. Despite missing Rafael Nadal, who is playing an ATP tournament in Melbourne, Spain have dropped just one set at the 16-team tournament.

“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.”

Poland defeated Argentina to become the first country to qualify for last 4

Bautista, who is making his third appearance in the tournament, won 90 percent of his first-serve points and played consistently from the baseline to triumph after 84 minutes. The victory extended his 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.”

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. 

Earlier in the day, Poland defeated Argentina to become the first country to qualify for the semifinals at the ATP Cup. World No. 9 Hubert Hurkacz defeated in-form David Schwartzman to ensure his country’s place in the last-four of the competition.

Poland finished the round-robin stage 3-0, with wins over Georgia, Greece and in the top-of-the-table clash against Argentina. Kiamil Majchrzak overcame  Federico Delbonis in the opening singles match.Hurkacz powered his way past Schwartzman 6-1, 6-4 in the second singles match in 81 minutes before Poland won the doubles to complete the sweep.

The situation in Group C is much more complicated as all four teams- Britain, Canada, Germany and the United States – are still in contention to make it to the next stage. They also play on Thursday.

Sportslumo Desk

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