Nadal, Djokovic Open ATP Cup With Wins; Coric Upsets Thiem
by Staff | January 4th, 2020, 2:24 pm
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The stars opened played Saturday at the new ATP Cup spread out over three cities in Australia.

Rafael Nadal made his Perth debut besting Nikoloz Basilashvili 6-3, 7-5 to help Spain out to a 3-0 victory over Georgia.

“It has been positive victory, of course, for me and for the team — 3-0, a good start to the competition,” said Nadal.

“I had the match under control, 5-2 against a good player like Nikoloz. It has been a positive start. Obviously, he played some good games. I made a couple of mistakes, then the match became more difficult. That is it.”

Also in the Perth B group, Japan beat Uruguay.

In Brisbane, Novak Djokovic opened the new decade edging Kevin Anderson in two breakers 7-6(5), 7-6(7) to lead Serbia over South Africa 3-0.

“I thought it was a fantastic opening match of the season,” Djokovic said. “I was really pleasantly surprised and I’m very grateful to all the fans coming out and being patient, staying all the way to the end of the match, especially Serbian guys that really showed the great passion.

“I’m pretty pleased with my game. To be honest, considering the fact that he was playing at the very high level, I thought it was a fantastic match.”

Serbia, now 1-0, is mixed with France, Chile and South Africa in the Brisbane A group.

The 33-year-old Anderson was making his return following knee surgery in September.

“Coming first match back and straight away playing Novak’s obviously a little bit tough,” said Anderson said. “Definitely got off to a little bit of a nervous start but I am really pleased with the way I was able to turn it around and felt pretty much went toe-to-toe from midway through the first set through the rest of the match.”

In Sydney, Borna Coric and Marin Cilic paced Croatia to a 3-0 win over Austria. Coric upset Dominic Thiem 7-6(4), 2-6, 6-3.

“Very happy,” Coric said. “I was not coming into this match with lots of confidence, playing great. I honestly didn’t know what to expect, if I’m going to play good 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.”

Day Three at the ATP Cup will see USA battle a deep Russian team, Canada’s youngsters meet Australia and Stefanos Tsitsipas collides with Alexander Zverev after both lost their opening matches on Friday.

The 24-team, 6-group event is being played in Brisbane, Perth and Sydney from January 3-12, with the quarterfinal knock-out stage beginning on Thursday the 9th in Sydney.

Perth: Medvedev v Isner (RUS-USA)
Brisbane: FAA v Kyrgios (CAN-AUS)
Brisbane: Shapovalov v De Minaur (CAN-AUS)
Brisbane: Tsitipas v Zverev (GRE-GER)

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