Nadal sidelined, team Djokovic wins to open ATP Cup defense

Nadal sidelined, team Djokovic wins to open ATP Cup defense

MELBOURNE – Rafael Nadal did not make it for Spain’s ATP Cup opener due to a sore again, deciding it wasn’t definitely worth the threat per week forward of the Australian Open.

Novak Djokovic did double-time for defending champion Serbia, in the meantime, successful singles and doubles matches Tuesday to make sure a 2-1 comeback win over Canada.

The highest two gamers in males’s tennis took totally different approaches to their fine-tuning at the beginning of a busy week of preparation for the season’s first main.

Each spent 14 days in lodge quarantine — as did all incoming gamers — due to Australia’s strict border rules amid the COVID-19 pandemic, and each performed in an exhibition occasion final Friday. Nadal performed extra of a hand in that, with Djokovic limiting his time on courtroom due to a blister.

Djokovic was in his factor on Rod Laver Area whereas Serbia followers chanted and waved their nationwide flag as he beat Denis Shapovalov 7-5, 7-5 to power a deciding doubles match, then mixed with Filip Krajinovic for a 7-5, 7-6 (4) win over the Canadian pair.

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Final week in Adelaide, Djokovic spoke about feeding off the vitality of the crowds.

Again at Melbourne Park, the place he has received a report eight Australian Open titles, he had loads of vitality to feed off.

The big and loud band of Serbia supporters was a characteristic of Djokovic and his group’s win within the inaugural ATP Cup final yr, which culminated with a victory over Nadal and Spain.

“It’s a pleasure to see them in such massive numbers. At any time when they’ll, they present up,” Djokovic mentioned. “Final yr it was superb. That was in all probability the most effective help outdoors of Belgrade that we ever had.

“We want that. In this sort of competitors, it’s vital.”

The second-ranked Nadal posted a press release on Twitter earlier than his scheduled night time match in opposition to Australia’s Alex de Minaur saying he had a stiff decrease again and “hopefully I’ll be higher for Thursday.”

Roberto Bautista Agut moved into Spain’s prime spot to tackle de Minaur and Pablo Carreno Busta moved into the No. 2 singles spot.

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The ATP Cup, a 12-team competitors in 2021, is among the six tournaments crammed into the schedule this week to present gamers as a lot probability as attainable to arrange for the Australian Open, which has been delayed three weeks from its normal January time slot.

With coronavirus circumstances beneath management, the federal government is permitting crowds of as much as 25% capability for the tune-up occasions for the season’s first tennis main, rising to 50% from the beginning of the Australian Open on Monday.

That is one thing the gamers have not skilled because the pandemic began to vary the worldwide sports activities panorama final March.

Matteo Berrettini mentioned having the group again helped throughout his 6-2, 6-4 upset win over U.S. Open champion Dominic Thiem in Italy’s 2-1 victory over Austria in Group C.

KENIN BACK

Sofia Kenin had a sprinkling of followers within the stands to observe her first match again at Melbourne Park since her Grand Slam breakthrough finally yr’s Australian Open.

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She cherished it, saying she actually missed her followers, though she would have loved an extended stint on the courtroom at Margaret Courtroom Area. Kenin had simply received the primary set 7-5 when Camila Giorgi retired from their match on the Yarra Valley Basic due to damage.

Kenin had just one match win in earlier journeys to Melbourne Park in 2018 and ’19 earlier than successful her first main title final yr, when she beat Ash Barty within the semifinals and Garbine Muguruza within the ultimate. Kenin additionally reached the ultimate on the delayed French Open, shedding to first-time winner Iga Swiatek.

“Clearly, it’s actually particular. Tremendous glad to be right here,” Kenin mentioned of her return to Australia. “Making an attempt to someway deal with the feelings on courtroom. I really feel prefer it’s going to be just a little little bit of a rollercoaster subsequent Monday or Tuesday, every time I play. I really feel such as you guys, the followers, will see just a little bit extra emotion.”

Barty wanted 4 match factors to complete off her 6-3, 6-3 win over Ana Bogdan in an evening match, her first in competitors in nearly a yr.

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“I had a lot enjoyable on the market in the present day. I missed you guys a lot,” the top-ranked Australian advised the group in an on-court interview. “That is certainly one of my favourite locations to play in the whole world.”

Barty opted in opposition to touring in the course of the pandemic, and skipped the U.S. Open and her title protection at Roland Garros.

“I missed it so much. I wrestled with the choice I my head for fairly some time,” she mentioned, “”however my well being needed to be prioritized.”

OSAKA CRUISING

Third-ranked Naomi Osaka received her opening match within the Gippsland Trophy, beating Alize Cornet 6-2, 6-2.

Osaka, who received the U.S. Open final yr and the Australian Open in 2019, will subsequent face No. 371-ranked Katie Boulter, who upset No. 14 Coco Gauff 3-6, 7-5, 6-2.

Kaia Kanepi beat No. 4 Aryna Sabalenka 6-1, 2-6, 6-1, whereas fifth-seeded Johanna Konta, No. 7 Elise Mertens and No. 12 Caroline Garcia additionally superior.

ANDREESCU’S ABSENCE

Bianca Andreescu’s absence from aggressive tennis will proceed for an additional week after the 2019 U.S. Open champion withdrew from the Grampians Trophy.

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The 20-year-old Canadian hasn’t performed because the 2019 WTA Trophy due to knee and foot accidents, and is coming off a tough lockdown in Melbourne.

“After discussing it with my group, we’ve got determined to focus this week on coaching,” Andreescu mentioned in a press release. “See you all on the Australian Open!”

Andreescu was among the many 72 gamers compelled into the arduous lockdown after being deemed an in depth contact of passengers on their constitution flights who returned a optimistic take a look at for COVID-19 after arriving in Australia final month.

KYRGIOS, SANDGREN WIN

Nick Kyrgios returned after nearly 12 months off to beat Alexandre Muller 3-6, 6-4, 7-6 (4) within the first spherical of the Nice Ocean Highway Open.

Two-time Australian Open quarterfinalist Tennys Sandgren additionally superior, successful his first match since popping out of the arduous lockdown.

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Extra AP tennis: https://apnews.com/hub/tennis and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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