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Rafa Nadal, Novak Djokovic Win On Day 2 Of ATP Cup, Borna Coric Beats Dom Thiem

By Ricky Dimon

Recent 2019 Davis Cup champion Spain made a perfect start to its inaugural ATP Cup campaign on Saturday evening in Perth, Australia. It was an unsurprising one, too, as the Spaniards were heavy favorites against an overmatched Georgia side.

Roberto Bautista Agut got things started with a virtual walkover, easing past world No. 679 Aleksandre Metreveli 6-0, 6-0. Rafael Nadal proceeded to clinch the tie with a much tougher matchup but managed to hold off Nikoloz Basilashvili 6-3, 7-5.

Nadal twice failed to serve out the match from 5-2 up in the second before finally crossing the line.

Spain also won the doubles rubber, with Pablo Carreno Busta and Feliciano Lopez picking up a straight-set success.

“It [was a] positive victory, of course, for me and for the team,” Nadal noted. “3-0, a good start to the competition.”

“I think I was okay physically at the end of the first set and then I got cramps a bit at the start of the second set,” Basilashvili commented. “In general, I think it was a good match. I really enjoyed it and the court is really nice atmosphere here. Today, I can say many positive things, but obviously playing with Rafa is physically very demanding. I had to put in 100 per cent, and some moments in the beginning of second set I start cramping, but then somehow I recovered a little bit.”

Croatia, Serbia, France, and Argentina were other winners on Day 2. The Croats were led by Borna Coric’s 7-6(4), 2-6, 6-3 upset of Dominic Thiem. That clinched the tie, as it was preceded by a 6-7(4), 6-4, 6-4 victory for Marin Cilic over Dennis Novak. Novak Djokovic beat Kevin Anderson 7-6(5), 7-6(6) as Serbia took care of South Africa, and France rode Gael Monfils and Benoit Paire to win at Chile’s expense.

Monfils beat Christian Garin in a contest that saw the Frenchman win an absolute wild rally in a way that only he can.

It was an otherwise straightforward affair for Monfils, whereas Coric vs. Thiem was a battle from start to finish. The Croat benefited from eight double-faults off Thiem’s racket and broke serve four times while prevailing in two hours and 42 minutes.

“(I’m) very happy,” Coric assured. “I was not coming into this match with lots of confidence. I honestly didn’t know what to expect, if I’m going to play [well] or not. But I was playing really good tennis. Even though [I lost] the second set, I felt I was playing good tennis, honestly. It’s just that he was playing too good. And then in the third set, I just found that on important points I was playing really brave–and in the end it paid off.”

Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.

Editors Note • please donate to the relief efforts in Australia. The fires are like none seen ever before. 1 in 3 people are effected in some way.

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