On January 6, Spain defeated Uruguay 3-0 in the ATP cup's second round-robin clash. Two days after delivering a double bagel against a lower-ranked player from Georgia, Roberto Bautista Agut took down the 19-year-old Franco Roncadelli 6-1, 6-2 in 57 minutes to push his country in front.
World no. 10 lost 11 points behind the initial shot, repelled two out of three break chances and stole 60% of the return points, enough for six breaks from ten opportunities. The Uruguayan netted a forehand in the first game to suffer a break, with nothing to work on in the return games after taking one point in three Bautista Agut's games.
The Spaniard grabbed another break at 3-1 and closed the set with the third break at 5-1 following another forehand mistake from a left-hander. Roberto fended off a break chance in the second set's third game and moved 3-1 up thanks to a forehand error from the youngster in the next one.
Roncadelli found himself 5-1 down and pulled one break back, extending the encounter a bit before Bautista Agut broke at 15 at 5-2 to wrap up the action and propel Spain in front. In the second rubber, world no. 1 Rafael Nadal ousted Pablo Cuevas 6-2, 6-1 in an hour and 13 minutes, delivering the second victory of the season and sending Spain over the top.
It was their sixth meeting and the fifth victory for the 19-time Major champion. Rafa dropped nine points behind the initial shot, saved the only break chance offered to Pablo and took half of the return points to secure four breaks from eight opportunities that carried him home.
Nadal had 26 winners and eight unforced errors, controlling the pace and sealing the deal ahead of the Japan clash.
Rafael Nadal scored the second victory of the season against Pablo Cuevas.
Finding his A-game right from the start, Nadal produced three holds at love in the opening set and controlled return games to cross the finish line and stay on the quarter-final course.
Pablo fended off two break chances in the second game before Rafa grabbed a break two games later with a volley winner. The Spaniard confirmed the advantage with an ace at 3-1 and produced another hold at love for a 5-2 lead.
Returning in game eight, Nadal clinched another break that secured a set for him after 37 minutes, looking sharp and opening the second set with a break. Serving at 3-1, Rafa saved a break chance with a forehand winner, forcing an error from Cuevas in the next one to forge a 5-1 advantage and sealing the deal with three winners in game seven for a rock-solid day at the office and the second victory of the season.