Behind Novak Djokovic, Serbia joined Australia in the ATP Cup final eight. The Serbs edged a deep French team 2-1 as Djokovic won both matches in Brisbane, cruising past Gael Monfils 6-3, 6-2 in singles and then teaming with Viktor Troicki to take the doubles and clinch the win.
“I really show my emotion because I really care about playing for Serbia, but I also care about being on the team with my friends,” Djokovic said. “These guys are some of my best friends in my life and I grew up with Viktor. We played so many doubles matches together in junior days.
South Africa rolled past Chile 3-0 in the other match in Brisbane.
Spain improved to 2-0 in Perth as Rafael Nadal breezed in a 6-2, 6-1 victory over Pablo Cuevas to pace a 3-0 win over Uruguay.
“It was a positive victory,” said Nadal. “I played a very solid match, my serve worked better than the first day. I think I was returning very well from the baseline. I think I played some very good rallies, changing direction better with my forehand down the line.”
Japan also edged Georgia 2-1 to also go to 2-0. They’ll now meet heavily-favored Spaniards for a spot in the quarters.
“It’s going to be a tough one. He had two great victories and with very comfortable results, so it’s going to be a big challenge and I hope to be ready to play at the level that I need to be successful,” Nadal said of Japan.
And in Sydney, Dominic Thiem eased past Diego Schwartzman 6-3, 7-6 to lead Austria to a 3-0 win over Argentina.
“I’m really happy with the improvement from Saturday to today,” Thiem said. “Good practice session yesterday where I was working on the things which were not that great on Saturday, and today was really I think a match on a high level. Still, here and there some mistakes, which maybe didn’t happen towards the end of last year, but in general it was a great match. I think also enjoyable for the crowd. Many great rallies. I’m very happy.”
Earlier, thanks to singles wins from Marin Cilic and Borna Coric, Croatia got past Poland 2-1. They are now 2-0 in their group.
On Tuesday, two more spots will be determined at the ATP Cup. Grigor Dimitrov and Bulgaria can clinch a quarterfinal berth with a win over Belgium in Sydney.
Undefeated Russia will also to look to secure their Perth group win by beating Norway. And Germany and Canada collide hoping to sneak into the knockout round. In the match of the day, Denis Shapovalov meets the Alexander Zverev who’s already amassed 24 double faults in his first matches.
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