As was expected, Spain claimed victory over Georgia in the opening tie of the ATP Cup in Perth, with Roberto Bautista Agut and world no. 1 Rafael Nadal leading the red squad towards the triumph. In the first match, Roberto Bautista Agut destroyed world no.
679 Aleksandre Metreveli 6-0, 6-0 in an hour and 12 minutes. Roberto lost five points behind the initial shot, fending off the only break point he faced and delivering six breaks from 14 opportunities to leave the rival empty-handed.
It has to be said that Metreveli had nine chances to make a hold, seven in the first game of the encounter, but it wasn't to be for him, wasting them all and suffering a double bagel against much better-ranked rival. A smash winner pushed Roberto 4-0 in front and the set was in his hands after a beautiful forehand crosscourt winner in game six for a 6-0 in 40 minutes.
The Spaniard fended off a break point 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 endure it, 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, delivering a 6-3, 7-5 triumph in an hour and 50 minutes for the positive start of the new season.
Rafa wasn't at his best but that was expected in his first clash of the year, 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.
Nikoloz broke world no. 1 at 15 with a volley winner in the first game, wasting game points in his opening service game and allowing Rafa to break back. The Spaniard had the momentum in those moments, dropping one point on serve by the end of the set and clinching a break with a forehand winner at 4-3 before closing the set with a hold at love for a 6-3.
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 in game eight. 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.
Still, the Georgian squandered all the hard work in game 11 when Rafa broke him to move in front once again, allowing the Spaniard to grab the victory with a hold at 15 a few minutes later.