Novak Djokovic fought previous Alexander Zverev but it surely wasn’t sufficient to stave off defeat for Serbia within the ATP Cup on Friday, with Germany making the semi-finals alongside a Spanish crew lacking injured Rafael Nadal. The world primary, who’s ramping up preparations to defend his Australian Open crown, was examined in his singles rubber earlier than outlasting Zverev 6-7 (3/7), 6-2, 7-5. However the German acquired revenge within the deciding doubles, teaming with Jan-Lennard Struff to edge Djokovic and Nikola Cacic 7-6 (7/4), 5-7, 10-7 and guarantee they made a last-four conflict towards Daniil Medvedev’s Russia.
Struff earlier beat Dusan Lajovic within the different singles tie.
“It was so troublesome to play towards (Zverev) at present. Missiles from the opposite aspect of the court docket, each first and second serve,” mentioned Djokovic, who led his nation to the inaugural title final yr.
“He was going for it, not too many double faults. You have to give him credit score for being brave and attempting his finest.”
Nadal lacking once more
In the meantime, Nadal was as soon as once more lacking from the Spanish crew as they misplaced 2-1 to Greece.
He watched from the crew field as Pablo Carreno Busta and Roberto Bautista Agut led the problem, towards Michail Pervolarakis and Stefanos Tsitsipas.
Carreno Busta, ranked sixteenth, had few issues in thrashing Pervolarakis 6-3, 6-4 to ensure their spot within the playoff rounds towards Italy.
Australia was already eradicated from their group heading into Friday’s match, whereas Greece wanted to win the tie 3-0 to advance.
“With this victory, we’re into the semi-finals, so it was essential to us,” Carreno Busta mentioned.
“I attempted to be focussed on myself, to attempt to play my finest sport.”
Bautista Agut could not match the exploits, crashing 7-5, 7-5 to world quantity six Tsitsipas, who boasts two wins from two in a promising begin to his season.
“I believe I performed very stable all through the entire match and confirmed aggression,” mentioned the Greek. “My forehand was on hearth, my serve was working very well for me.”
The Dominic Thiem-led Austria meet France in a while Friday, with the ultimate group tie between Argentina and Japan on Saturday.
Eyes on the Open
The outcomes imply 17-time Grand Slam champion Djokovic has 4 robust matches underneath his belt — two singles and two doubles — as he targets a record-extending ninth Australian Open title.
In distinction, Nadal hasn’t performed a aggressive sport because the semi-finals of the ATP Finals in London on November 21.
His solely look since was an exhibition towards Thiem in Adelaide final week, with a again harm casting a shadow over his hopes of a record-setting twenty first Grand Slam title in Melbourne.
He pulled out of Spain’s opening ATP Cup tie at brief discover in addition to lacking the Greece sport on Friday.
“I am not nicely sufficient to play. I am enhancing little by little, however I am not able to play a match with most depth,” Nadal informed Spanish broadcaster Vamos.
The Australian Open will get underway on Monday with Nadal, the 2009 champion, seeking to edge forward of Roger Federer who additionally has 20 Slam titles to his title.
The injured Swiss nice will not be taking part in and can solely return to the tour in Doha in March.
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