Novak Djokovic inspires Serbia to victory in the inaugural ATP Cup

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Men's team tennis in a World Cup-style format - haven't we only just had an event like that?

Less than six weeks after Rafael Nadal helped Spain win the inaugural Davis Cup finals in Madrid, the world's best male players will again represent their countries at a rival team competition, the ATP Cup.

Set up by the men's tour with the carrot of huge prize money and ranking points, the new event features 24 teams playing over 10 days in three Australian cities in January.

Great Britain are among the nations competing after Andy Murray, using an injury protected ranking of two, made a late decision to enter.

However, former world number one Murray pulled out of the event - and the Australian Open, which starts on 20 January - with a pelvic injury just six days before Britain's opening match.

Here is everything you need to know about the new addition to the start of the 2020 tennis calendar.

What is the ATP Cup?
The 24-nation event features six groups of four teams, who each play three round-robin ties. The ties - comprising two singles matches and one doubles - are best of three.

The six group winners, plus the best two runners-up, will progress to the quarter-finals.

Group matches are taking place on outdoor hard courts in Sydney, Brisbane and Perth. The knockout stage - the Final Eight - will be played at Sydney's Ken Rosewall Arena.

The final is on 12 January, which is eight days before the start of the opening Grand Slam event of the year - the Australian Open.

There is a prize pot of 22m Australian dollars (£11.6m) and a player can win up to 750 singles ranking points.

Nine of the world's top 10 players are in action, with only Swiss great Roger Federer absent after he withdrew to spend more time with his family.

The strongest team on paper in terms of their two highest ranked singles players are Spain, with world number one Rafael Nadal and world number nine Roberto Bautista Agut.

The six groups
Group A: Serbia, France, South Africa, Chile
Group B: Spain, Japan, Georgia, Uruguay
Group C: Belgium, Great Britain, Bulgaria, Moldova
Group D: Russia, Italy, United States, Norway
Group E: Austria, Croatia, Argentina, Poland
Group F: Germany, Greece, Canada, Australia
How is the ATP Cup different to the Davis Cup?
Spain with the Davis Cup trophy
Spain won the Davis Cup just 40 days before the start of the ATP Cup
What many onlookers from inside and outside tennis are struggling to fathom is why another national team knockout competition is taking place so soon after the Davis Cup, which itself was a revamped event played over a week in a round-robin/knockout format.

But there are several differences between the two.

The ATP Cup has been created by the men's tour, rather than the International Tennis Federation (ITF), which runs the 119-year-old Davis Cup.

Qualification for the ATP Cup is based on a country's top-ranked singles player, while in the Davis Cup teams play qualifying ties to reach the week-long finals.

The offer of rankings points is a feature of the new event only - a player who plays and wins all possible singles matches can earn 750 ATP rankings points. The only events where more points are on offer are at the four Grand Slams (2000 for winner), ATP Finals (1500) and nine Masters events (1000).

The number of rankings points to be awarded will depend on the ranking of the opponent and the round of the result. Doubles ranking points are also being offered.

Like at the Davis Cup, the singles matches will be best-of-three tie-break sets. But the difference in the doubles here is that there will be no-advantage scoring and a match tie-break instead of a third set.

While the Davis Cup came at the end of a gruelling season, the ATP Cup falls at the beginning and will serve as a useful warm-up for the Australian Open.

But the creation of two separate, but very similar, events at either end of an already long season has left some players having to make tough choices.

Swiss 20-time Grand Slam champion Federer withdrew from the ATP Cup for family reasons, while Russian world number five Daniil Medvedev and German world number seven Alexander Zverev skipped the Davis Cup finals.

World number two Novak Djokovic has called for the two events to be merged, saying: "Looking long term, I don't think that the two events can coexist six weeks apart. It's just a bit too congested."

Barcelona footballer Gerard Pique, whose Kosmos investment group is behind the overhaul of the Davis Cup, maintains he is open to finding a solution with the ATP over combining the events.

"We are really open to sit down with the ATP and try to arrive to a deal, to make a unique competition, a super event of two weeks and try to find the best part in the calendar," Pique said at the Madrid event in November.

"In the next few months I think we will start talking again with the ATP. And I hope in the next few months we can announce something."

Top players at ATP Cup (world ranking in brackets)
Rafael Nadal, Spain (1) Alexander Zverev, Germany (7)
Novak Djokovic, Serbia (2) Matteo Berretini, Italy (8)
Daniil Medvedev, Russia (4) Roberto Bautista Agut, Spain (9)
Dominic Thiem, Austria (5) Gael Monfils, France (10)
Stefanos Tsitispas, Greece (6)
Who are Great Britain playing?
If it had not been for Andy Murray's late decision to use his protected world ranking of two, Great Britain might not have qualified for the inaugural event because their other players may not have been ranked high enough.

But then the 32-year-old Scot, who only had career-saving hip surgery last January, announced on Saturday he would not play after "a setback" with the pelvic injury he has been nursing since the Davis Cup finals in November.

That has led to James Ward being called up alongside British number one Dan Evans and Cameron Norrie as the singles players, with doubles specialists Jamie Murray and Joe Salisbury completing the five-man team.

As the nation's leading player, three-time Grand Slam champion Andy Murray was able to choose the team captain and picked his mentor Tim Henman for the job.

"He's got a lot of experience, he's a fun guy to be around and he played lots of Davis Cups," Murray said in November.

Great Britain open their Group C campaign against Bulgaria in Sydney on 3 January (06:30 GMT), with world number 42 Evans taking on former Wimbledon semi-finalist and world number 20 Grigor Dimitrov in the first match of the tie.

Their other round-robin ties are against Belgium on 5 January and Moldova two days after that.

Belgium's top-ranked player is world number 11 David Goffin, while Moldova's is world number 46 Radu Albot.

Great Britain reached the semi-finals of the Davis Cup in November, losing to eventual champions Spain.

Feliciano Lopez, left, and Rafael Nadal console Jamie Murray and Neal Skupski, right, after the pair lost both sets on tie-breaks
Great Britain missed out on a place in the Davis Cup final after Spain's Rafael Nadal and Feliciano Lopez edged out Jamie Murray and Neal Skupski in a heartbreaking doubles defeat last month
What have Becker and Safin got to do with it?
With each country's top-ranked player allowed to select their team's captain, the ATP Cup features the return of some familiar names in charge.

Germany will be captained by six-time Grand Slam champion Boris Becker (chosen by world number seven Alexander Zverev), while Russia will be led by former world number one Marat Safin (picked by world number five Daniil Medvedev).

Other captains include 1995 French Open champion Thomas Muster (Austria) and two-time Grand Slam champion Lleyton Hewitt (Australia).

Meanwhile, Bulgaria's highest ranked player Dimitrov has picked none other than himself as captain.

Schedule
ATP Cup group-stage schedule (times GMT, * day before)
Brisbane Perth Sydney
3 Jan - early Greece v Canada (00:00) USA v Norway (02:00) Belgium v Moldova (23:00*)
- late Germany v Australia (07:30) Russia v Italy (09:30) Bulgaria v Great Britain (06:30)
4 Jan - early France v Chile (00:00) Japan v Uruguay (02:00) Argentina v Poland (23:00*)
- late Serbia v South Africa Spain v Georgia (09:30) Austria v Croatia (06:30)
5 Jan - early Canada v Australia (00:00) Italy v Norway (02:00) Bulgaria v Moldova (23:00*)
- late Germany v Greece (07:30) Russia v USA (09:30) Belgium v Great Britain (06:30)
6 Jan - early South Africa v Chile (00:00) Japan v Georgia (02:00) Croatia v Poland (23:00*)
- late Serbia v France (07:30) Spain v Uruguay (09:30) Austria v Argentina (06:30)
7 Jan - early Germany v Canada (00:00) Russia v Norway (02:00) Great Britain v Moldova (23:00*)
- late Greece v Australia (07:30) Italy v USA (09:30) Bulgaria v Belgium (06:30)
8 Jan - early Serbia v Chile (00:00) Spain v Japan (02:00) Austria v Poland (23:00*)
- late France v South Africa (07:30) Georgia v Uruguay (09:30) Croatia v Argentina (06:30)
Knockout stage

Thursday, 9 January - two quarter-finals (23:00* and 06:30)

Friday, 10 January - two quarter-finals (23:00* and 06:30)

Saturday, 11 January - semi-finals (00:00 and 07:30)

Sunday, 12 January - final (07:30)

https://www.bbc.com/sport/tennis/50764813
 
Britain lost their opening ATP Cup tie after Jamie Murray and Joe Salisbury were beaten in a thrilling match ending at 2:47am local time in Sydney.

With the tie with Bulgaria locked at 1-1 after the singles, Salisbury and Murray lost 7-6 (7-5) 6-7 (2-7) 11-9 to Grigor Dimitrov and Alexandar Lazarov.

The Britons were unable to convert two match points in the match tie-break.

Britain started the inaugural event with Cameron Norrie's win before Dan Evans lost to Dimitrov in the singles.

Norrie gave his side a 1-0 lead in the tie with a 6-2 3-6 6-2 victory over world number 423 Dimitar Kuzmanov, but Bulgaria levelled when US Open semi-finalist Dimitrov beat Evans 6-2 4-6 6-1 to set up the deciding doubles rubber.

That left Britain's fate in the hands of Murray and Salisbury, playing together for the first time as the nation's highest ranked doubles players.

But they were edged out in a tense finale to leave Britain, without the injured Andy Murray, needing to beat Belgium on Sunday to stand any chance of avoiding an early exit from the new 24-team tournament.

After the Bulgarian pair edged a tight first set, Murray and Salisbury broke early in the second set and maintained their slender advantage until the latter stages when Dimitrov and Lazarov swung momentum back in their favour.

Murray was unable to serve out the set at 5-4 as Bulgaria took their first break point since the third game of the match to level at 5-5.

Like the opener, it also needed a tie-break to separate the teams. But this time it was Britain who dominated, a beautiful lob by Salisbury teeing up four set points of which they needed just one when Dimitrov planted a volley wide.

That meant a first-to-10 match tie-break started about 2:30am at a sparsely-populated Ken Rosewall Arena, with Britain edging 4-2 ahead after a rare double fault from Dimitrov.

The mistake from former world number three Dimitrov did not prove costly, however, as the inspired Bulgarians fought back to 8-7 before showing more resilience to save the two match points.

Lazarov, ranked 477th in the doubles and outside the top 500 in the singles, put away a volley for 10-9 to tee up their first match point, which they took when he hit a perfect inside-out forehand down the line.

Seeing the impact of Australian bushfires is 'tough', says tearful Kyrgios
What is the ATP Cup?
If it had not been for Andy Murray's late decision to use his protected world ranking of two, Great Britain might not have qualified for the inaugural event because their other players may not have been ranked high enough.

But then the 32-year-old Scot, who only had career-saving hip surgery last January, announced on Saturday he would not play after "a setback" with the pelvic injury he has been nursing since the Davis Cup finals in November. James Ward was called up in his place.

Norrie, ranked 53rd in the world, was far from his best against the lower-ranked Kuzmanov, but eventually had enough quality to come through by converting his sixth break point of the match to win in almost two hours.

Murray's absence means Evans, the world number 42, is Britain's leading player and that pitted him against former world number three Dimitrov.

After a confident opening set where he broke serve three times, Evans lost his way in the second and allowed Dimitrov to level with a crucial break in what proved to be the final game of the set.

From that point Dimitrov took control and clinched victory in two hours and 16 minutes at about 12:10am local time, meaning the doubles rubber would not start until about 1am.

What else happened on the opening day?
The 24-nation event features six groups of four teams, who each play three round-robin ties. The ties - comprising two singles matches and one doubles - are best of three.

The six group winners, plus the best two runners-up, will progress to the quarter-finals.

Australia took an unassailable 2-0 lead over Group F rivals Germany after wins for Nick Kyrgios, who broke into tears when speaking about the wild bushfires across Australia after the match, and Alex de Minaur.

Kyrgios won 6-4 7-6 (7-4) against Jan-Lennard Struff before 20-year-old De Minaur fought back from a set and a break down to beat world number seven Alexander Zverev 4-6 7-6 (7-3) 6-2.

The hosts completed a 3-0 win when John Peers and Chris Guccione won 6-3 6-4 against French Open men's doubles champions Kevin Krawietz and Andreas Mies.

In the same group, Canada's Felix Auger-Aliassime and Denis Shapovalov led their nation, who were runners-up at the Davis Cup finals in November, to a 3-0 win over Greece.

Norway earned a shock win over the United States in Group D. Talented 21-year-old Casper Ruud led them to victory by beating big-serving John Isner in three sets.

The Americans had led through Taylor Fritz's straight-set win over Viktor Durasovic but Ruud saved two match points before levelling the tie with a 6-7 (3-7) 7-6 (12-10) 7-5 win over the world number 19 in two hours and 43 minutes.

Ruud then teamed up with Durasovic to beat Rajeev Ram and Austin Krajicek and spark jubilant celebrations from the Norway squad.

In Britain's Group C, Belgium eased to a 3-0 victory over Moldova, who received an apology after the wrong anthem was played before their tie.

https://www.bbc.com/sport/tennis/50982973
 
Top-30 ranked pair Benoit Paire and Gael Monfils won their singles matches to ensure France opened their ATP Cup campaign with victory over Chile.

On day two of the inaugural tournament in Brisbane, Paire opened with a 6-7 (3-7) 6-3 6-3 win over Nicolas Jarry.

Monfils sealed the Group A win by beating Cristian Garin 6-3 7-5.

Japan, without Kei Nishikori, won all three matches against Uruguay in Group B in Perth, while Argentina beat Poland 2-1 in Group E in Sydney.

Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Dominic Thiem all play later on Saturday as Serbia, Spain and Austria start their campaigns against South Africa, Georgia and Croatia respectively.

The 24-nation event is spread across three Australian cities - Brisbane, Perth and Sydney - and features six groups of four teams, who each play three round-robin ties.

The six group winners, plus the best two runners-up, will progress to the quarter-finals.

Great Britain, who are without Andy Murray after he pulled out through injury, lost their opening tie against Bulgaria on Friday.

Jamie Murray and Joe Salisbury were beaten in a thrilling deciding doubles match which ended at 02:47 local time in Sydney.

https://www.bbc.com/sport/tennis/50991928
 
Spain's world number one Rafael Nadal began his 2020 season by clinching his nation's opening win against Georgia at the inaugural ATP Cup.

Nadal beat Nikoloz Basilashvili 6-3 7-5 to give Spain a 2-0 advantage in the best-of-three tie held in Australia.

Novak Djokovic edged past South African Kevin Anderson to clinch victory for Serbia, while Austria lost to Croatia after Dominic Thiem was beaten.

France beat Chile 2-1 in Group A, while Japan and Argentina also won.

On day two of the new tournament, Benoit Paire opened up for France with a 6-7 (3-7) 6-3 6-3 win over Nicolas Jarry before world number 10 Gael Monfils sealed victory in Brisbane by beating Cristian Garin 6-3 7-5.

Japan, without injured former US Open finalist Kei Nishikori, won all three matches against Uruguay in Group B in Perth, while Argentina beat Poland 2-1 in Group E in Sydney.

In the evening session, 32-year-old Djokovic had to dig deep to overcome former Wimbledon and US Open finalist Anderson, who was playing for the first time since July after a knee injury.

Anderson, 33, played aggressively and found the lines to leave Djokovic rattled at several points in a close-fought match, but the 16-time Grand Slam champion edged the tie-breaks to win 7-6 (7-5) 7-6 (8-6).

Anderson failed to capitalise on a set point at 6-5 in the second tie-break, hitting into the net which allowed the Serb to recover and take his first match point with a volley.

That ensured the tie went Serbia's way after Dusan Lajovic had earlier beaten Lloyd Harris in three sets.

Nadal, 33, showed signs of rustiness in his first match after a six-week off-season before eventually seeing off world number 26 Basilashvili in almost two hours.

Nadal looked to be heading to a smooth win after breaking Basilashvili twice in each set, only for the 19-time Grand Slam champion to show even the greatest can have difficultly in closing out matches.

The Spaniard stuttered as he twice failed to serve out victory from 5-2 ahead and allowed Basilashvili to level at 5-5, before breaking straight back and eventually wrapping up the win at the third time of asking.

Nadal's win, which came after Roberto Bautista Agut thrashed Aleksandre Metreveli 6-0 6-0 in the opening match, meant the Davis Cup champions clinched victory regardless of what happened in the doubles rubber.

Austria's defeat by Croatia, who led through Marin Cilic's win over Denis Novak, was sealed when world number four Thiem lost 7-6 (7-4) 2-6 6-3 to Borna Coric.

Saturday's results at the ATP Cup
* Awaiting results of the final doubles rubber
Brisbane (Group A) Perth (Group B) Sydney (Group E)
Day session: France 2-1 Chile Japan 3-0 Uruguay Argentina 2-1 Poland
Night session: Serbia 2-0 South Africa* Spain 2-0 Georgia* Croatia 2-0 Austria*
The 24-nation event is spread across three Australian cities - Brisbane, Perth and Sydney - and features six groups of four teams, who each play three round-robin ties.

The six group winners, plus the best two runners-up, will progress to the quarter-finals.

Great Britain, who are without Andy Murray after he pulled out through injury, lost their opening tie against Bulgaria on Friday and must beat Belgium on Sunday to stand any chance of progressing.

Jamie Murray and Joe Salisbury were beaten in a thrilling deciding doubles match which ended at 02:47 local time in Sydney.

https://www.bbc.com/sport/tennis/50991928
 
Great Britain avoided an early exit at the ATP Cup as Jamie Murray and Joe Salisbury won the decisive doubles to clinch a comeback victory over Belgium.

With the tie locked at 1-1 and defeat ending Britain's hopes of reaching the quarter-finals, Murray and Salisbury won 6-3 7-6 (9-7) against Belgian pair Sander Gille and Joran Vliegen.

Dan Evans kept the British bid alive by beating world number 11 David Goffin.

That came after Cameron Norrie lost in two sets to veteran Steve Darcis.

After Britain lost to Bulgaria in their opening tie on Friday, the team would have been eliminated from the inaugural 24-nation tournament if Murray and Salisbury lost their rubber against Gille and Vliegen.

Norrie's defeat left them facing an uphill task, but British number one Evans' impressive 6-4 6-4 victory - backed up by Murray and Salisbury - means they go into Tuesday's final round-robin tie against Moldova with a chance of reaching the knockout phase in Australia.

Barty to donate Brisbane prize money to bushfires fund
The ATP Cup features six groups of four teams, who each play three round-robin ties in an event played across three Australian cities, Sydney, Brisbane and Perth. The six group winners, plus the best two runners-up, will progress to the quarter-finals.

Britain reached the last four at November's Davis Cup finals in Madrid, a similar World Cup-style team event which many believe should combine with the ATP Cup, where Murray and his regular doubles partner Neal Skupski won two decisive matches before losing to a Rafael Nadal-inspired Spain in the semi-finals.

But with teams selected by ATP ranking, seven-time Grand Slam doubles champion Murray has instead been teamed up with 27-year-old Salisbury.

The pair lost their first outing together - missing two match points in a tense three-set defeat by Bulgaria's Grigor Dimitrov and Alexandar Lazarov ending at 2:47am local time - but came under little pressure from the Belgian pair on Sunday.

"Cam didn't play his best match and the chips were down but Evo came out and played a great match from start to finish," Murray said.

"For us we ballsed up a bit the other night and we wanted to put in a strong performance to make up for losing that match.

"We're happy to get through and stay alive in the tournament."

Evans hauls Britain back into the tie after stunning win
Dan Evans
Evans beat a top-20 opponent for the sixth time in his career
A victory for 24-year-old Norrie against Belgium player-captain Darcis, 35, in the opening match of Sunday's evening session would have given Tim Henman's team a strong platform from which to build on in the tie.

However, he was outclassed by an inspired Darcis - who is set to retire after the upcoming Australian Open - and saw his serve broken twice in each set to lose 6-3 6-4 in one hour and 12 minutes.

Norrie's defeat put the onus on 29-year-old Evans, who has the game but not always the consistency to match the world's best players.

But he played confidently and cleanly against Goffin, disrupting the Belgian's rhythm, to record one of the most impressive victories of his career.

Evans showed his intent by decisively breaking his opponent's serve in the opening game, and then followed that up with a double break at the start of the second set, which put him into a commanding 3-0 lead.

Goffin responded valiantly in the latter stages as he looked to avoid defeat, claiming one break back in the sixth game and threatening another in what proved to be the final game of the match.

Evans was unable to convert four match points but showed his mental strength by taking his fifth when Goffin dragged a forehand return wide.

"It was real tough out there," said Evans. "We said that he would come at me when it was tight - he's a world-class player. His quality started to show near the end."

The Briton screamed with delight as he leapt in the air in celebration and slapped hands with his team captain Henman, who did an impressive job of ensuring his player remained focused and stuck to the gameplan.

"He did that throughout a long career and there's no-one better to give me a gameplan," Evans added.

"Everybody knows my game is similar to Tim's game. It's great he came out and did this job for us."

What else happened on day three?
Boris Becker and Alexander Zverev at the ATP Cup
Germany captain Boris Becker was unable to help Alexander Zverev, who hit 10 double faults and landed just 45% of his first serves, turn his match around
Australia became the first nation to seal their spot in the quarter-finals after winning Group F.

Without Nick Kyrgios because of a back injury, the hosts won 3-0 against Davis Cup finalists Canada before Germany's 2-1 victory against Greece clinched top spot for Lleyton Hewitt's team.

That tie saw Greece's ATP Tour Finals champion Stefanos Tsitsipas beat Alexander Zverev in the first match of the tournament contested by two top-10 players.

In the end it was a one-sided match as Tsitsipas brushed aside the German, who had a number of unsavoury rows with his father - and coach - Alexander senior as he slid towards a dismal 6-4 6-1 defeat.

Despite that, Germany avoided elimination on Sunday when French Open champions Kevin Krawietz and Andreas Mies fought off six match points to beat Tsitsipas and Michail Pervolarakis in a thrilling 3-6 6-3 17-15 win.

Russia are close to joining Australia in the last eight after beating the United States to earn their second Group D win.

World number four Daniil Medvedev eased to a 6-3 6-1 win over John Isner, giving the Russians an unassailable 2-0 lead in the best-of-three tie after team-mate Karen Khachanov beat Taylor Fritz 3-6 7-5 6-1.

Norway, who lost 2-1 to Italy, could still stop Russia progressing when they meet in Tuesday's final round of matches.

Sunday's ATP Cup results
Brisbane (Group F) Perth (Group D) Sydney (Group C)
Day session: Canada 0-3 Australia Italy 2-1 Norway Bulgaria 2-1 Moldova
Night session: Germany 2-1 Greece Russia 2-1 United States Great Britain 2-1 Belgium

https://www.bbc.com/sport/tennis/50998107
 
Novak Djokovic led Serbia to the quarter-finals of the inaugural ATP Cup by winning both his singles and doubles matches against group rivals France.

After France led through Benoit Paire's win over Dusan Lajovic, world number two Djokovic beat Gael Monfils 6-3 6-2.

Djokovic and Viktor Troicki beat Nicolas Mahut and Edouard Roger-Vasselin to win 6-3 6-7 (5-7) 10-3 at 00:40 local time in Brisbane.

Rafael Nadal's Spain beat Uruguay to close on the last eight in Australia.

After world number 10 Roberto Bautista Agut thrashed Franco Roncadelli 6-1 6-2, world number one Nadal eased past Pablo Cuevas 6-2 6-1 to seal the Perth tie before Feliciano Lopez and Pablo Carreno Busta beat Ariel Behar and Juan Martin Fumeaux 6-1 3-6 10-3 in the doubles.

The one-sided victory in the best-of-three tie completed a second whitewash for the Davis Cup champions, who beat Georgia on Saturday.

They will finish as Group B winners if they beat Japan on Wednesday.

What is the ATP Cup?
Austria boosted their chances of qualification from Group E with a 3-0 win against Argentina in Sydney.

World number four Dominic Thiem beat Argentine number one Diego Schwartzman after team-mate Dennis Novak recovered from a first-set bagel to beat Guido Pella 0-6 6-4 6-4.

Oliver Marach and Jurgen Melzer won the doubles as Austria put their opening defeat by Croatia behind them.

Monday's ATP Cup results
Brisbane (Group A) Perth (Group B) Sydney (Group E)
Day session: South Africa 3-0 Chile Japan 2-1 Georgia Croatia 2-1 Poland
Night session: Serbia 2-1 France Spain 3-0 Uruguay Austria 3-0 Argentina
The ATP Cup features six groups of four teams, who each play three round-robin ties in an event played across three Australian cities, Sydney, Brisbane and Perth. The six group winners, plus the best two runners-up, will progress to the quarter-finals.

Great Britain must beat winless Moldova in Tuesday's final group tie to stand any chance of reaching the quarter-finals.

Without the injured Andy Murray, Tim Henman's team lost Friday's opener to Bulgaria before fighting back to beat Belgium on Sunday.

Former Wimbledon finalist Kevin Anderson says he is still capable of winning a Grand Slam after earning his first win since knee surgery as South Africa beat Chile in Group A.

Anderson, 33, pushed Novak Djokovic on Saturday in his first match since July, before easing past Cristian Garin 6-0 6-3 in Monday's evening session.

It clinched a 3-0 win over the Chileans and helped South Africa earn their first win at the inaugural 24-team event in Australia.

Anderson, who lost to Djokovic in the 2018 Wimbledon final, was ranked eighth when he suffered a knee injury during last year's tournament at the All England Club.

He missed the rest of the 2019 season as a result and needed surgery in September, but has not looked far from his best at the ATP Cup on his return.

Anderson, who also reached the 2017 US Open final, where he lost to Rafael Nadal, needed just one hour and 14 minutes to beat world number 33 Garin.

That clinched the tie for South Africa following Lloyd Harris's 6-4 6-4 victory over Nicolas Jarry, before Raven Klaasen and Ruan Roelofse beat Garin and Jarry 1-6 6-3 10-7 in the doubles to complete the whitewash.

"My best ranking is top five, so I would like to get back there," Anderson said, who is now the world number 147.

"I want to win a Masters series. I'm definitely a good enough tennis player to do that. I've put myself in good positions but haven't quite taken that step.

"And then, obviously, the grand prize in tennis: a Grand Slam. I've been in two finals. That's the ultimate goal for me. It's one that I really feel like I have a good chance of doing it."

Croatia also moved closer to the quarter-finals with their second win in a row, former US Open champion Marin Cilic leading them to a 2-1 win over Poland in Group E.

Japan, who are without star player Kei Nishikori through injury, gave themselves hope of progressing by following up their opening win over Uruguay with a 2-1 victory against Georgia in Group B.


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Great Britain will play hosts Australia in the ATP Cup quarter-finals after Belgium beat Bulgaria in a thrilling group finale.

Knowing defeat would mean elimination, Britain thrashed Moldova 3-0 and then topped Group C after Belgium won 2-1.

Cameron Norrie and Dan Evans won their singles against Alexander Cozbinov and Radu Albot to clinch Britain's victory.

Jamie Murray and Joe Salisbury sealed a 3-0 win with a 6-2 6-2 success over Albot and Cozbinov in the doubles.

Britain, led by captain Tim Henman, will play Australia in Sydney at 10am local time on Thursday (23:00 GMT, Wednesday).

How the ATP Cup quarter-finals are shaping up
Great Britain v Australia Thurs, 9 Jan - 10am local time (Wed, 8 Jan - 23:00 GMT)
Group D winner v Russia Thurs, 9 Jan - 5:30pm local time (06:30 GMT)
Serbia v second runner-up Fri, 10 Jan - 10am local time (Thurs, 9 Jan - 23:00 GMT)
First runner-up v Group B winner Fri, 10 Jan - 5:30pm local time (06:30 GMT)
Bulgaria, who beat Britain in Friday's opener, would have secured top spot if they had beaten the Belgians and left Britain facing an anxious wait to see if they would qualify as one of two best-placed runners-up.

Bulgaria led 1-0 in the best-of-three tie when Dimitar Kuzmanov eased past Belgium's 35-year-old player-captain Steve Darcis in a 6-0 6-3 triumph.

US Open semi-finalist Grigor Dimitrov put the Bulgarians a set away from the last eight before Belgium's world number 11 David Goffin fought back to win 4-6 6-2 6-2 and level the contest at 1-1.

Dimitrov, a former world three now ranked 20th, teamed up with Alexandar Lazarov in the decisive doubles and the Bulgarian pair again edged their side close to the quarter-finals by winning the opening set.

But the Belgian duo of Sander Gille and Joran Vliegen fought back to win 3-6 6-4 10-7 at about 12:15am local time and leave the Bulgarian team disconsolate at the Ken Rosewall Arena.

Britain are the fourth nation to clinch their quarter-final place at the inaugural event in Australia, joining the hosts, Serbia and Russia in the knockout phase.

The ATP Cup is a new 24-nation knockout tournament that has been set up by the men's professional tour to kick off the 2020 season.

It features six groups of four teams, who each play three round-robin ties in an event played across Sydney, Brisbane and Perth.

Evans produced another world-class performance - Henman
Dan Evans helps Great Britain to ATP Cup win
Since losing his opener to Grigor Dimitrov, Dan Evans has not dropped a set for a Great Britain squad without Andy Murray and Kyle Edmund
British number one Evans beat Goffin to inspire the turnaround against Belgium, which kept his team in the tournament and produced another impressive display against Albot.

Evans, ranked 42nd in the world, was denied a first ATP Tour title by Albot in the Delray Beach Open final last February, missing three championship points before a double fault handed victory to the Moldovan.

This time there were no such concerns in a 6-2 6-2 win for 29-year-old Evans, who is now poised to break into the world's top 40 for the first time next week.

"He was world class again. Gave so little away. Got off to a very good start, took his opportunities, and it was a really clinical performance," said British captain Henman, a former world number four.

"I have known the tennis he's capable of. I would just say the challenge is to deliver that consistently throughout a match, consistently throughout the tournament and throughout a year," Henman, a former world number four, said of Evans.

"And I think the element that we focused on is really the mental side of things and just playing it point by point, trying to structure the points on his terms so he can be aggressive and dictate at the right moments.

"He's done a great job of that."

Kyrgios maintains Australia run as Tsitsipas loses his cool
Australia were the first nation to reach the quarter-finals, having not lost a single match in the round-robin stage with just a final doubles rubber against Greece still to play.

Spearheaded by their leading singles players Alex de Minaur and Nick Kyrgios, the hosts will provide formidable opposition for a British side that has shown great fight to reach the knockout phase.

Kyrgios, ranked 29th, was in irrepressible form as he overcame Greek world number six Stefanos Tsitsipas in an entertaining three-set match that showed why the pair are rated as two of the game's most promising younger talents.

Little separated the two in a tight contest which Kyrgios, 24, eventually edged 7-6 (9-7) 6-7 (7-3) 7-6 (7-5) in front of a ecstatic home crowd in Perth.

Frustration got the better of Tsitsipas after he lost the opening set, angrily smashing his racquet and seeming to catch his father Apostolos - also Greece's team captain - which brought a telling-off from his mother Julia, who was sat behind the team bench.

Medvedev helps Russia to the quarter-finals
Daniil Medvedev
Daniil Medvedev has dropped just one set in his three singles victories for Russia
World number five Daniil Medvedev sealed Russia's spot in the quarter-finals by clinching victory over Group D rivals Norway.

Team-mate Karen Khachanov, ranked 17th, eased past world number 329 Viktor Durasovic in a 6-2 6-2 win, leaving Medvedev with the task of beating highly rated Casper Ruud to maintain Russia's 100% winning record.

US Open finalist Medvedev, 23, won 6-2 7-6 (8-6) in one hour and 34 minutes to end world number 53 Ruud's winning run, with the 21-year-old having beaten two top 20 players - Italy's Fabio Fognini and American John Isner - in his previous two matches.

Russia are the third nation to secure their spot in the quarter-finals after hosts Australia and Serbia.

Canada still have a chance of joining those nations in the last eight following a 2-1 win over Germany in Group F.

Jan-Lennard Struff put the Germans ahead with a 6-1 6-4 victory over Felix Auger-Aliassime before Denis Shapovalov levelled by easing past world number seven Alexander Zverev - whose poor form at the tournament continues - in a 6-2 6-2 win.

That took the tie - and qualification hopes - to the deciding doubles where Shapovalov, 20, and Auger-Aliassime, 19, teamed up to beat French Open champions Kevin Krawietz and Andreas Mies 6-3 7-6 (7-4).

Tuesday's ATP Cup results/scores
Brisbane (Group F) Perth (Group D) Sydney (Group C)
Day session: Germany 1-2 Canada Russia 3-0 Norway Great Britain 3-0 Moldova
Night session: Greece 0-2 Australia Italy 2-0 United States Belgium 2-1 Bulgaria
https://www.bbc.com/sport/tennis/51017058
 
Rafael Nadal came back twice from a break down against Japan's Yoshihito Nishioka to put Spain into the ATP Cup quarter-finals in Australia.

The world number one won 7-6 (7-4) 6-4) to give Spain an unassailable 2-0 lead in the tie after Robert Bautista Agut had earlier beaten Go Soeda 6-2 6-4.

Nadal then paired up with Pablo Carreno Busta to win the doubles rubber and end Japan's chances of a last-eight spot.

Argentina later beat Croatia to advance.

Croatia could still book a place in the knockout stage if they win the remaining doubles rubber against Argentina, who sealed victory in the tie with straight-set wins for Guido Pella and Diego Schwartzman over Marin Cilic and Borna Coric respectively.

Spain, who won the Davis Cup in November, ended their group-stage campaign with a perfect record of nine wins.

But an unusually sluggish Nadal was made to work hard against world number 72 Nishioka, making 19 unforced errors and dropping serve twice in the first set.

It was the first time Nadal, who has not dropped a set at the tournament yet, had played in the hot conditions of the Perth day session.

"It's the first time I played under these heavy conditions, so the feeling on court is completely different," said Nadal, who will be seeking to equal Roger Federer's record of 20 Grand Slam singles titles at the Australian Open, which starts on 20 January.

He said he was not thinking about catching the Swiss great, adding: "My only goal is to keep playing good tennis, keep enjoying this sport and being happy. And if that happens and I stay healthy then the goal is to keep producing chances in the events that I'm going to play."

The ATP Cup is a new 24-nation knockout tournament that has been set up by the men's professional tour to kick off the 2020 season.

It features six groups of four teams, who each play three round-robin ties in an event played across Sydney, Brisbane and Perth.

Among the other countries who have already qualified for the quarter-finals are Great Britain, who face hosts Australia on Thursday (starts 23:00 GMT Wednesday).

Novak Djokovic's Serbia and Russia are also through to the knockout stage, which will be played in Sydney.

How the ATP Cup quarter-finals are shaping up
Great Britain v Australia Thurs, 9 Jan - 10am local time (Wed, 8 Jan - 23:00 GMT)
Argentina v Russia Thurs, 9 Jan - 5:30pm local time (06:30 GMT)
Serbia v second runner-up Fri, 10 Jan - 10am local time (Thurs, 9 Jan - 23:00 GMT)
First runner-up v Spain Fri, 10 Jan - 5:30pm local time (06:30 GMT)
https://www.bbc.com/sport/tennis/51031501
 
Great Britain missed out on the ATP Cup semi-finals after Jamie Murray and Joe Salisbury lost the decisive doubles rubber against Australia despite having four match points.

The 3-6 6-3 18-16 win for Nick Kyrgios and Alex de Minaur after a match tie-break gave the hosts a 2-1 win.

Dan Evans had earlier kept Britain in the tie with a thrilling three-set win over De Minaur.

Kyrgios had beaten Cameron Norrie in the opening singles in Sydney.

Australia will play Spain or Belgium on Saturday for a place in the final of the inaugural edition of the men's team tournament.

https://www.bbc.com/sport/tennis/51044806
 
Novak Djokovic put Serbia into the inaugural ATP Cup final as they beat Russia 3-0 in Sydney.

The world number two overcame US Open finalist Daniil Medvedev 6-1 5-7 6-4 to give Serbia an unassailable 2-0 lead.

Dusan Lajovic had earlier beaten world number 17 Karen Khachanov 7-5 7-6 (7-1) before Viktor Troicki and Nikola Cacic made it a clean sweep in the doubles.

Serbia will play either Spain or Australia in Sunday's final.

"Medvedev is one of the best players in the world and he showed today why," Djokovic said after their rubber.

"This was the most difficult challenge I have had so far this year."

The 19-time Grand Slam champion later withdrew from the ATP event in Adelaide, which begins on 12 January. The Australian Open - the first Grand Slam of the year - starts on 20 January.

https://www.bbc.com/sport/tennis/51074914
 
Rafael Nadal will play Novak Djokovic as Spain take on Serbia in the inaugural ATP Cup final in Sydney.

Top-ranked Nadal came from a set down to beat Australia's Alex de Minaur 4-6 7-5 6-1 and give Spain an unassailable 2-0 lead over the hosts.

World number two Djokovic had earlier beaten US Open finalist Daniil Medvedev 6-1 5-7 6-4 as Serbia beat Russia 3-0.

Djokovic beat Nadal in straight sets in last year's Australian Open final and leads their head-to-head 28-26.

He has also not lost to Nadal on a hard court since the 2013 US Open final.

The Australian Open - the first Grand Slam of the year - begins on 20 January, eight days after the ATP Cup finishes.

Nadal lost his quarter-final singles match to Belgium's David Goffin and was punished for a slow start by De Minaur, who is at a career-high of 18th in the rankings.

However, as De Minaur tired, Nadal went up a level, racing to a 4-0 lead in the deciding set before serving out victory on his first attempt.

Roberto Bautistua Agut had given Spain a lead in the tie after breezing past Nick Kyrgios 6-1 6-4, before Feliciano Lopez and Pablo Carreno Busta won in the doubles.

"Novak likes to play here and Serbia has a great team and is playing very well," Nadal said.

"But Roberto played an amazing match and we have a good team, so we are ready for it."

Djokovic has not lost a match at the event, although he has dropped sets in his past two matches against Medvedev and Canada's Denis Shapovalov.

However, he was able to overcome the highly-rated Medvedev to seal Serbia's place in the final after Dusan Lajovic had beaten world number 17 Karen Khachanov 7-5 7-6 (7-1).

Viktor Troicki and Nikola Cacic then made it a clean sweep in the doubles with a 6-4 7-6 (9-7) win over Teimuraz Gabashvili and Konstantin Kravchuk.

"Medvedev is one of the best players in the world and he showed today why," Djokovic said after their rubber.

"This was the most difficult challenge I have had so far this year."

The 16-time Grand Slam champion later withdrew from the ATP event in Adelaide, which begins on 12 January. The Australian Open - the first Grand Slam of the year - starts on 20 January.

The 24-nation event started with six groups of four teams, who each played three round-robin ties. The ties - comprising two singles matches and one doubles - are best of three.



https://www.bbc.com/sport/tennis/51074914
 
Novak Djokovic inspired Serbia to victory in the inaugural ATP Cup as his singles win over Rafael Nadal helped his country beat Spain 2-1 in Sydney.

World number two Djokovic, 32, defeated top-ranked Nadal, 33, 6-2 7-6 (7-4) to level the tie after Roberto Bautista Agut beat Dusan Lajovic 7-5 6-1.

Djokovic then partnered Viktor Troicki to a 6-3 6-4 doubles win over Pablo Carreno Busta and Feliciano Lopez.

"I will remember this experience for the rest of my life," Djokovic said.

"It's definitely one of the nicest moments of my career."

Djokovic and Troicki quickly went 3-1 down in the first set of the doubles but the animated Serbian pair won the next five games to take the opening set.

They broke early in the second and maintained their momentum, with Djokovic serving out the match at his first attempt.

Djokovic, the reigning Australian Open champion, did not lose a match during the week-long tournament, claiming six singles and two doubles wins.

"It was a huge team effort," Djokovic said.

"I've been very fortunate and blessed to have an amazing career but playing for your country, with some of my best friends, you can't match that."

Nadal has now lost his past nine hard court matches against Djokovic, who was barely troubled in the opening set.

The Spaniard was broken in the first game of the match and was visibly frustrated by the pro-Serbian crowd, giving them a sarcastic thumbs-up as he dropped serve again.

Djokovic served out the opening set but was given a tougher test in the second, saving five break points in one 10-minute service game.

Nadal saved two break points with consecutive backhand winners but Djokovic took control of the tie-break, closing out victory as Nadal sent a forehand into the net.

"The respect for both players should be there," Nadal said of the crowd afterwards.

Nadal won the Davis Cup with Spain six weeks ago, which is a similar format to the ATP Cup, and he believes the two events are too close together.

"I think that [scheduling] is a confusion for the spectators, and we need to be clear in our sport," he added.

"And for the health of our sport and for the benefit of our sport, in my opinion, it is mandatory that we fix it."



https://www.bbc.com/sport/tennis/51082562
 
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