ATP Cup: Spain shrugs off Rafael Nadal’s absence to beat Norway

Veteran Roberto Bautista Agut beat world number eight Casper Roode on Monday to give Spain a second consecutive ATP Cup win, matching Hubert Hurkaz’s Poland. 33-year-old Bautista Agut has been the dominant singles player for her country in the absence of 20-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal and has stepped out in style. After defeating world number 17 Christian Garin of Chile in Sydney on Saturday, he registered a 6-4, 7-6 (7/4) victory over Rudd, the first Norwegian to win an ATP Tour title.

“I played very well with very few unforced errors,” said 19th-ranked Bautista Agut. “It’s a good start (for the season) and I feel good.”

Pablo Carreo Busta made a quick start to beat Norwegian number 345 Viktor Durasovic 6-3, 6-3 in just 69 minutes to ensure Spain took an unassailable 2-0 dead doubles rubber .

Former top-10 star Careno Busta defeated Chile’s Alejandro Tabilo on Saturday to take a 4-1 lead in his ATP Cup career now in singles.

“Winning the first match is always important. Today I was feeling more comfortable than on day one,” he said. “We need to gain momentum, we need to gain confidence.”

Norway have lost both their opening matches in Group A, which also feature 2020 champions Serbia and Chile, who play on Monday evening.

In the absence of Novak Djokovic, Serbia is led by Dusan Lajovic and faces Garin.

In the other evening’s clash, Stefanos Tsitsipas’ Greece will take on Diego Schwartzman’s Argentina.

World number four Tsitsipas withdrew from his top-10 performance with Harkaz on Saturday, not wanting to risk his right elbow, even after surgery in November.

However, he played doubles that night and is listed to meet Schwartzman after losing his opening match to Greece. Argentina lead 1-0 after beating Georgia on the first day.

Like Spain, Harkaz ensured that Poland also went 2-0 up.

But the world number nine was forced to dig deeper against Georgian Alexandre Metreveli, ranked just 570th, who stepped down after Nikoloz Basilashvili’s exit before the match.

But once he found his slot, last year’s Miami Open champion won 6-7 (5-7), 6-3, 6-1.

“He played well in the first set and things weren’t going my way. But I got better with each set and am happy with the win,” said Harkaz.

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Kamil Mazchrzak gave Poland a strong start as they lost just two games to a 6-1, 6-1 win against Aleksandr Bakshi in 53 minutes.

Poland could make the semi-finals if it beats Argentina on Wednesday, with only the top country from the four groups making it to the knockouts.

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