Which Teams Have Qualified for the ATP Cup Semifinals?

Roberto Bautista Agut in action at the ATP Cup.

There’s been a lot going on at the start of a hectic season so you’d be forgiven for not being able to keep up with the ATP Cup. To help you out, just in case, we here at LWOT are recapping the action from Sydney over the past week:

ATP Cup Semifinalists

Group A

  1. Spain (qualified): 3-0
  2. Chile 2-1
  3. Serbia 1-2
  4. Norway 0-3

Spain have been on fire from the get-go in Sydney (the only match they lost was against a decent doubles pairing in Nikola Cacic and Matej Sabanov). This is partly because the conditions are tailor-made for their two singles players, Pablo Carreno Busta and Roberto Bautista Agut. Both players are able to use their fairly flat and solid backhands to break down their opponents defences, neither player dropping a set in their three respective matches. The most impressive of the lot was Bautista Agut’s dismantling of Casper Ruud, rushing the Norwegian’s forehand with his serve to set up an aggressive +1 shot time and time again (he didn’t face a break point the whole match).

Group B

  1. Russia (qualified): 3-0
  2. Australia: 2-1
  3. Italy: 1-2
  4. France: 0-3

Russia looked helpless without Aslan Karatsev, Andrey Rublev and Karen Khachanov at the start of the tournament, Daniil Medvedev certainly not enough for them to win alone. Step up Roman Safiullin who has played well above his ranking of #167 throughout the tournament. Earlier in the week, Safiullin defeated James Duckworth and Arthur Rinderknech in the singles, two players in decent form. More importantly, he assisted Medvedev in winning two doubles matches, the one against France a deciding doubles match.

He couldn’t quite find the insane level required to defeat Jannik Sinner in a semifinal playoff tie against Italy, double faulting on his own set point in the first set. Fortunately, Medvedev played out of his skin to beat Matteo Berrettini in three sets, the latter two sets hosting some of the highest quality tennis in the tournament. It all boiled down to another deciding doubles tie – Safiullin/Medvedev came to life once more to take it in a match tiebreak.

Group C

  1. Canada (qualified): 2-1
  2. Great Britain: 2-1
  3. Germany: 1-2
  4. USA: 1-2

From last in their group on day 4 to semifinalists on day 6, team Canada completely turned their fortunes around in defeating Germany. The ATP Cup qualification criteria prioritizes head-to-head over match win percentage. In other words, given Great Britain had beaten both Germany and USA, Germany could not qualify, regardless of whether or not they beat Canada.

There were still ranking points to play for and both singles matches went to a third set. The young Canadians took their chances, however, Denis Shapovalov overturning a 2-5 record against Jan-Lennard Struff and Felix Auger-Aliassime overturning his own 1-4 record against Alexander Zverev. With these two singles wins, the door closed on Great Britain’s qualification hopes.

Group D

  1. Poland (qualified): 3-0
  2. Argentina: 2-1
  3. Greece: 1-2
  4. Georgia: 0-3

Georgia and Greece came into the tournament as underdogs. Stefanos Tsitsipas couldn’t play all his singles matches due to an ongoing injury and their second man was ranked#399. Georgia’s Nikoloz Basilashvili was also suffering from injury and nobody else in the team cracked the top-500 in the world.

Consequently, it came down to the tie between Argentina and Poland. Federico Delbonis’ continued struggles on hard-courts aside, we can narrow the scope to the match between Diego Schwartzman and Hubert Hurkacz.

Schwartzman played well but realistically didn’t stand much of a chance against Hurkacz in that mood. The Pole’s shot placement was outstanding from start to finish, seemingly finding spots of the court with his backhand that seemed unreachable. Every break point was saved with a flourish, every serve hit with intent – Schwartzman can only play so well on a hard-court and couldn’t keep up.

Semifinalists

The semifinals and the players currently down to play are as follows:

  1. Spain vs Poland
    1. Pablo Carreno Busta vs Kamil Majchrzak
    2. Roberto Bautista Agut vs Hubert Hurkacz
    3. Alejandro Davidovich Fokina/Pedro Martinez vs Szymon Walkow/Jan Zielinski
  2. Canada vs Russia
    1. Denis Shapovalov vs Roman Safiullin
    2. Felix Auger-Aliassime vs Daniil Medvedev
    3. TBD

Main photo:
Embed from Getty Images


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