Nadal decides not to play his first ATP Cup game due to back discomfort
The unexpected loss of
did not prevent Spain from making a successful debut in the second edition of the ATP Cup. Finalist last year, the team this time led by
, beat Australia in the first match of the Group B. Nadal, affected by back problems, decided not to play his match against
Alex de Miñaur
, local number 1.
It was Bautista who completed the work started by
, conclusive against
: 6-2 and 6-4.
The Castellón beat De Miñaur 4-6, 6-4 and 6-4, in two hours and 19 minutes.
The absence of Nadal, however, raises the logical concern for the remainder of this tournament and the start of the Australian Open next week, where he could surpass
20 Grand Slam titles
The Spaniard added in his statement through Twitter that he hopes to be in good condition for this Thursday, against Greece.
With expectations of
faded, De Miñaur embodies the future of Australian tennis.
Recent champion in Antalya, the 23rd player from Sydney has entered the ATP Cup with a record of five victories, against an opponent who had not competed since October.
At 21, De Miñaur has a promising repertoire.
He is fast, determined and a good puncher from both fronts.
, captain of the
and one of his mentors, along with his coach, the Spanish
, has found in him a modernized replica of himself.
Bautista was thus in the first set before an irrepressible gale.
He was only able to carry out his service on one occasion.
De Miñaur, spurred on by an audience that returns tennis in Melbourne to a certain normality, proposed more and better.
Winner in his only crosses with Bautista, the Australian, who has made the preseason at the
Juan Carlos Ferrero
, in Villena, played with the self-confidence that distinguishes the new generations.
It has grown in relation to the preceding courses;
he is a more armed tennis player, also physically.
He clearly dominated the first set and despite Bautista's reaction he made it his own for the rest.
Nadal was only partially absent.
As is customary in team competitions, the world number two was the leader from the bench, involved in technical management and emotional drive, along with Vendrell and
, Carreño's coach.
Bautista, 13th, was not weighed down by his poor success in converting breaking balls, two out of six, and started an unthinkable reaction in light of the vulnerabilities shown.
He took a step forward, improved with the serve and saw his rival slacken, inconsistent, with palpable signs of confusion made explicit in the dialogues with his team at breaks.
As the game regained predictability, without the succession of
that marked its beginning, Bautista's command grew, setting the pendulum in motion.
After taking the second set, there were few traces of the Australian's strength, who ended up fading after losing service in the third game of the third quarter.
The Spaniard reversed a difficult start to the game and showed once again that in certain situations he can act as number 1. "It took me a while to pick up the pace of the game and the speed of the court, after being 5-1 down in the first set. It's never easy to start a season, "he commented after the victory.
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See links of interest
2021 business calendar
Leganés - Lugo
Real Betis - Osasuna
Sabadell - UD Logroñés
Live, ATP Cup: Roberto Bautista - Jon Millman
ATP Cup, live: Rafael Nadal - Álex de Miñaur