ATP Cup 2020: Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic win; Dominic Thiem suffers defeat
The second day of the ATP Cup 2020 witnessed contrasting fortunes for three of the top 5 ATP stars. While World No. 1 Rafael Nadal and World No. 2 Novak Djokovic grabbed wins for Spain and Serbia respectively, Austria's World No. 4 Dominic Thiem did not have the same good fortunes and was beaten by the 28th-ranked Borna Coric of Croatia.
Spain 3-0 Georgia
Fresh from winning the Mubadala World Tennis Championship for a record fifth time, Rafael Nadal returned to action at the ATP Cup to lead the charge for Spain against Georgia in Perth. World No. 26 Nikoloz Basilashvili refused to bow out without a challenge and made the 19-time Grand Slam champion work hard for the 6-3, 7-5 win. In fact, the Georgian was able to make in-roads into the southpaw's serve as many as three times, forcing Nadal to elevate his game.
Roberto Bautista Agut proved too strong for Georgia's World No. 679 Aleksandre Metreveli and went on to notch up a flawless 6-0, 6-0 victory.
Pablo Carreno Busta and Feliciano Lopez's experience was enough to complete a 6-3, 6-4 win over Aleksandre Bakshi and George Tsivadze and wrap up the 3-0 win for Spain.
Serbia 3-0 Republic of South Africa
Kevin Anderson's booming 17 aces made it difficult for the 16-time Major winner Novak Djokovic, who could break the South African's serve only once. Djokovic himself was pretty strong on serve though, producing 10 aces that helped him achieve a 7-6(5), 7-6(6) win in Brisbane.
Anderson was the only possible danger for the Serbians, who were robust in every other department. Dusan Lajovic did falter initially but managed to rebound in style to pull off a 3-6, 7-6(4), 6-3 win over World No. 99 Lloyd Harris.
In doubles, Serbia's Nikola Cacic and Viktor Troicki did not face any hassle in their 6-3, 6-2 win over Raven Klaasen and Ruan Roelofse that gifted Team Serbia a 3-0 triumph.
Croatia 3-0 Austria
Over in Sydney, Marin Cilic, Borna Coric and the doubles pair of Ivan Dodig and Nikola Mektic denied Austria any win. In the blockbuster battle between Thiem and Coric, the two-time French Open runner-up was obviously the favourite after the stellar season he had last year.
Thiem did make a strong comeback after conceding the highly competitive first set in a tie-break. Just when he looked to have got back his rhythm and confidence, Coric ran away with the decider, showing oodles of determination. The final result was a 7-6(4), 2-6, 6-3 win for the Croat after a marathon match that lasted 2 hours 42 minutes.
World No. 39 Cilic too had to work equally hard to get the win in the face of a brave show by World No. 108 Dennis Novak. Despite the huge gulf in the rankings, Novak played out of his skin and Cilic had to dig deep to complete a 6-7(4), 6-4, 6-4 win.
Dodig and Mektic later put paid to Austria's hopes with a commanding 7-6(4), 6-2 victory over Oliver Marach and Jurgen Melzer.
France 2-1 Chile
In the other tie in Brisbane, France won both their singles rubbers against Chile but failed to repeat the result in doubles.
World No. 77 Nicolas Jarry proved to be a tough customer for France's Benoit Paire. The Frenchman dropped the first set in a tie-break but that could not deter him as he stormed back to take a 6-7(3), 6-3, 6-3 win.
23-year-old rising star Christian Garin, ranked 33rd in the world, could not trouble the experienced Gael Monfils much. The World No. 10 waltzed to a 6-3, 7-5 win to make it 2-0 for France.
Chile grabbed the consolation win in doubles when Garin and Harry upset Nicolas Mahut and Edouard Roger-Vasselin 7-5, 6-2.
Japan 3-0 Uruguay
Over in Perth, Japan demolished Uruguay in one of the most one-sided contests of the day. Go Soeda pulverized World No. 523 Martin Cuevas 6-1, 6-3. Yoshihito Nishioka destroyed Pablo Cuevas at the expense of only one game.
Toshihide Matsui and Ben Mclachlan then beat Ariel Behar and Pablo Cuevas 7-6(5), 6-4 to complete the whitewash.
Argentina 2-1 Poland
In Sydney, Argentina edged Poland by dint of a strong performance in doubles and Guido Pella's singles win. The World No. 25 Pella dropped a set but bounced back to record a 6-2, 2-6, 6-2 win over Kamil Majchrzak.
In a blockbuster battle between World No. 14 Diego Schwartzman and World No. 22 Hubert Hurkacz, it was the lower-ranked Pole who carved out a 4-6, 6-2, 6-3 victory.
In doubles, the Argentine duo of Maximo Gonzalez and Andres Molteni beat Lukasz Kubot and Hurkacz 6-2, 6-4 to get a 2-1 win for their country.
Get the full ATP Cup 2020 Results