The second edition of the ATP Cup starts in Melbourne on February 1, with 12 countries battling for the trophy. There will be four groups with three teams, and the top countries advance into the semis. In Group A, the defending champions Serbia meet Germany and Canada, with world no.
1 Novak Djokovic battling against Alexander Zverev and Denis Shapovalov in the season's first official matches. In Group B, the last year's runner up Spain has to oust Greece and Australia in the round-robin phase. Thus, Rafael Nadal is set to play another encounter over Alex de Minaur, with two players fighting for over two hours in the last year's semi-final.
In Group C, Dominic Thiem, Matteo Berrettini and Gael Monfils have to determine the semi-finalist, and there are Russia, Argentina and Japan in Group D. A year ago, Serbia defeated Spain 2-1 to win the inaugural title, beating Spain 2-1.
Roberto Bautista Agut defeated Dusan Lajovic 7-5, 6-1 in an hour and 37 minutes in the opening encounter, putting Spain into the driving seat ahead of the anticipated second clash. Playing against each other for the 55th time, Novak Djokovic scored the 29th victory over world no.
1 Rafael Nadal and the ninth straight on the hard courts to keep Serbia alive. Novak claimed a 6-2, 7-6 triumph in an hour and 55 minutes for his sixth straight victory at the beginning of the season. Djokovic dominated the first set before Nadal responded in the second, staying in touch with the Serb and missing a chance to prolong the encounter.
Novak lost only 14 points in ten service games, repelled those five break chances and stole Nadal's serve twice in the opener for the best start. Rafa served better in the second set and followed Novak's pace after erasing two late break chances, only to fall in the tie break and send Novak over the top, losing all the matches against the Serb on hard after the US Open 2013!
Djokovic was back on the court soon after that with Viktor Troicki, ousting Pablo Carreno Busta and Feliciano Lopez 6-3, 6-4 in an hour and 15 minutes to put Serbia's name on that beautiful trophy.