ATP Cup: Spain stands strong even without Rafael Nadal



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ATP Cup: Spain stands strong even without Rafael Nadal

Spain will compete in the second ATP Cup final within three years, awaiting Russia or Canada in the title clash. The 20-time Major winner Rafael Nadal is not in Spain's squad in Sydney, but that has not been an obstacle for a strong red team led by Roberto Bautista Agut and Pablo Carreno Busta.

Bautista Agut and Carreno Busta are yet to lose a singles match in Sydney, playing on a high level and defeating all the opponents to propel their country into the final. In the semis, Spain took down Poland 2-1 thanks to the mentioned players who had different paths towards the finish line.

Pablo Carreno Busta had an easy day at the office versus Jan Zielinski, who replaced Kamil Majchrzak. The Spaniard toppled the Pole 6-2, 6-1 in 53 minutes, dropping 12 points on serve and taking over half of the return points for four breaks from eight opportunities.

Spain will compete in the second ATP Cup final.

Pablo had a massive advantage in the shortest range up to four strokes, taming his strokes nicely and sending his country in front. Zielinski sprayed a forehand mistake in the opener's fourth game and suffered another break at 2-5 to push Carreno Busta in front.

In game seven, the Spaniard forged a 5-0 advantage in the second set and sealed the deal with a forehand winner. In the second encounter, Roberto Bautista Agut and Hubert Hurkacz pushed each other to the limits for two hours and 44 minutes.

The Spaniard prevailed 7-6, 2-6, 7-6 to deliver the second point for his country and propel it into the final. Hurkacz blasted 24 aces and won 108 points like Bautista Agut, saving match points but failing to cross the finish line first and keep Poland alive.

Hubert fended off six out of seven break chances and earned three breaks, which was not enough to carry him home after dropping the crucial points in both tie breaks. Roberto gained an early lead, and Hubert erased it in time to reach a tie break, where he led 4-2.

Bautista Agut bounced back and claimed it 7-6 with a forehand winner after 55 minutes. Hubert played on a high level in set number two, breaking the rival twice for 6-2 and momentum ahead of the decider. The Pole defended two match points at 4-5 in the final set and another at 5-6 to reach a tie break. Bautista Agut stayed calm and clinched it 7-5 to wrap up a thrilling encounter and secure the final berth.