2020 in Review: Rafael Nadal tames Nikoloz Basilashvili to grab Spain's victory

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2020 in Review: Rafael Nadal tames Nikoloz Basilashvili to grab Spain's victory

Spain made a winning start at the ATP Cup in Perth on January 4, defeating Georgia 3-0. In the first rubber, Roberto Bautista Agut destroyed world no. 679 Aleksandre Metreveli 6-0, 6-0 in an hour and 12 minutes for the tournament's most convincing victory!

Roberto lost five points behind the initial shot, repelled the only break point he faced and delivered six breaks from 14 opportunities to leave the rival without a game. Metreveli had nine chances to bring at least one game home, seven in the encounter's first game, but it wasn't to be for him, wasting them all and suffering a double bagel against a much better-ranked rival.

A smash winner pushed Roberto 4-0 in front, and the opening set was in his hands after a beautiful forehand crosscourt winner in game six in 40 minutes. The Spaniard fended off a break chance at the beginning of the second set with a service winner, securing a break following a loose forehand from his rival in game two and delivering two holds at love to keep the pressure on the other side of the net.

Metreveli couldn't follow that pace, spraying another forehand error in the fourth game and sending the rival over the top following a double fault at 0-5. World no. 1 Rafael Nadal had to work hard against Nikoloz Basilashvili to open the season with a win, delivering a 6-3, 7-5 triumph in an hour and 50 minutes.

Rafa wasn't at his best, suffering three breaks and wasting a massive lead in set number two before sealing the deal and avoiding spending more time on the court. He stole Nikoloz's serve five times from ten chances, beating the Georgian for the fourth time in as many encounters and sending Spain over the top ahead of the next two clashes against Japan and Uruguay.

Rafael Nadal kicked off the 2020 season with a win over Nikoloz Basilashvili.

In his first service game of the new season, Nadal got broken at 15 following a volley winner from Basilashvili, pulling it back instantly with a forehand down the line winner in game two.

Gaining momentum, the 19-time Major champion lost one point behind the initial shot in the opener's remaining games, securing a break with a forehand winner at 4-3 before holding at love to wrap up the first set in style.

Rafa was on a steady course towards the finish line in set number two, earning breaks in games five and seven to forge a 6-3, 5-2 advantage, looking good to get the job done soon after that. Instead of that, Basilashvili broke back with a brave forehand winner, extending his chances and making things serious when Rafa sprayed a forehand error in game ten to hand another service game to his opponent, who was now back at 5-5.

Still, the Georgian squandered all the hard work in game 11 when Rafa broke him to move in front again, sealing the deal with a hold at 15 a few minutes later to send Spain over the top.