The second round at the inaugural ATP Cup finishes on Monday and we should get some exciting ties and encounters. One of the clashes that should be one-sided is the one between the Davis Cup Finals champions Spain and Uruguay in Perth, with the European squad seeking the perfect score following the triumph over Georgia from two days ago.
Roberto Bautista Agut produced a double bagel against Aleksandre Metreveli while Rafa had to work harder versus Nikoloz Basilashvili, needing an hour and 50 minutes to dismiss a two-time Hamburg champion 6-3, 7-5 and clinch the overall victory for Spain.
Nadal wasn't at his best and 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 additional time on the court.
He stole Basilashvili's serve five times from ten chances, beating the Georgian for the fourth time in as many encounters and for the second time on hard court after that challenging US Open 2018 clash. 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 pull the break back and restore the order. The Spaniard had the momentum in those moments, losing one point on serve by the end of the set and clinching breaks in games seven and nine for a 6-3 lead.
Nadal 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 and race towards the finish line. Instead of that, Basilashvili broke back with a brave forehand winner, extending his chances and making things more complicated when Rafa sprayed a forehand error in game ten to hand another service game to his opponent and drop the entire advantage.
Still, the Georgian squandered all the hard work in game 11 when Nadal broke him before holding at 15 a few minutes later to move over the top and kick off the season with a win. Against Uruguay, Roberto Bautista Agut plays against the 19-year-old Franco Roncadelli, a replacement for an injured Martin Cuevas, while Nadal takes upon Pablo Cuevas, facing each other for the first time since Paris 2017 and the sixth overall, with four wins on Nadal's tally so far.
"We try to treat each tie with maximum respect for our opponents," Nadal said. "We are in a phase of the group where each point counts a lot; we are going to play each match on its merits. We have maximum respect for all the players of Uruguay, knowing Pablo is a good player."