One of the favorites for the title at the ATP Cup, Spain claimed the second win in as many ties in Perth, ousting Uruguay 2-0 to stay in contention for the first place in Group B. Spain will face Japan on Wednesday to determine the group winner and they should be the favorites with Roberto Bautista Agut and Rafael Nadal in their squad.
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 in his games, repelling two out of three break chances and stealing 60% of the points in the youngster's games, enough for six breaks from ten opportunities.
The Uruguayan netted a forehand in the first game to suffer a break and there was nothing he could do on the return, taking one point in three Bautista Agut's games to stay under pressure all the time. The Spaniard grabbed another break at 3-1 and closed the set with the third break in game seven following another forehand mistake from a left-hander who stepped in instead of Martin Cuevas.
Roberto fended off a break point in the third game of the second set and moved 3-1 up thanks to a forehand error from the youngster in the next game. Roncadelli found himself 5-1 down before pulling one break back, extending the encounter a little bit before Bautista Agut broke at 15 at 5-2 to wrap up the action and propel Spain in front.
In the second match, world no. 1 Rafael Nadal ousted Pablo Cuevas 6-2, 6-1 in an hour and 13 minutes, delivering the second win of the season and sending Spain over the top in no time at all. It was their sixth clash and the fifth victory for the 19-time Major champion who dropped nine points behind the initial shot, saving the only break chance offered to Pablo and taking half of the return points for four breaks from eight chances that carried him home.
Finding the zone right from the start, Nadal produced three holds at love in the opener and controlled the pace on the return with a steady pace 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.
Returning at 5-2, Nadal clinched another break for a 6-2 in 37 minutes, looking sharp on the court and opening the second set with a break as well. Serving at 3-1, Rafa saved a break chance with a forehand winner, forcing an error from Cuevas in the next game to forge a 5-1 advantage and sealing the deal with three winners in the next day for a rock-solid day at the office.