Match Point from the ATP Cup

The ATP Cup has come into some criticism over the course of the last couple of weeks some fair and some unfair, since New Years Eve players from 16 countries have been competing to lift the trophy in Sydney.

Tsitsipas’ bizarre start to 2022…

Stefanos is a nice guy and a team player but it felt like he was just there for everyone else. With the greatest of respect without Stefanos they wouldn’t get close to qualifying and is a good event to pick up points and prize money.

His withdrawal from the opening rubber against Hurkacz raised eyebrows over his fitness and recovery from elbow/shoulder problem and those eyebrows were raised further when 90 minutes later he played a dead rubber in doubles. Stefanos said it was because it wasn’t singles but his body language after the match was odd, he didn’t look happy and waited in the wings as Pervolarakis signed autographs and took selfies with fans.

Stefanos lost to Schwartzman in the next match before winning against Basilashvili after 5 games with the Georgian retiring with question marks over the Greek’s fitness going into Melbourne…

Dan Evans stars in a successful trip for Team GB

Big credit to Team GB in their two wins at the ATP Cup narrowly missing out on a place in the semi-finals by a couple of games even though they won more matches than Canada who topped the group but that’s a different story.

All of the Brits played well, Dan Evans put on some great performances to remain unbeaten which included wins over Struff, Shapovalov and Isner where as the No.1, Cam Norrie played well but couldn’t get a win.

Dan and Jamie Murray also teamed up in the doubles beating both Germany and USA meaning that Dan Evans left the tournament with 5 wins and 0 defeats and involved in every Team GB win.

Roberto Bautista Agut kicks off 2022

2021 definitely had highlights for the Spaniard but it would be fair to say his season fizzled out finishing the year at No.19 with a 54% win percentage, his lowest since 2013.

The Spaniard produces at these team events, he was pivotal to Spain winning the Davis Cup in 2019 and finishing as runners-up at the ATP Cup a couple of months later.

The way he has played at the ATP Cup has been fantastic and a really confidence booster to begin his year and remind people of how dangerous he is.

He begun with a bagel against Cristian Garin on New Years Day and five more consecutive sets followed as he beat the Chilean followed by a 6-4 7-6 win over Casper Ruud and 6-1 6-4 win over Dusan Lajovic to send a dominant Spain to the semi-finals.

A second top ten win of the year followed for Agut who beat Hurkacz in a close three set match winning the third set 7-6 (7-5) to help Spain through to another final.

Australia’s No.1, Alex de Minaur impressive ahead of a big season

There is something about playing on home soil for Alex de Minaur that brings out his best tennis. I think this season is massive for him, he needs to find more complete performances and better consistency. There were too many early exits last year and the Aussie actually left 13 events without a win.

As complete performances go what he did against Matteo Berrettini was exceptional, it was a performance of pace and power, the latter I wouldn’t usually use to describe his game but the way he went after the big hitting Italian was majestic. It got a bit tight in the second set having served for the match but he came through it and I’m pleased for him, I hope now this win and the lesson from playing Daniil Medvedev and a comeback win over Ugo Humbert is a big stepping stone this season.

Felix and Denis combine to secure ATP Cup for Canada

These two are on my list of players to keep an eye on this year. Denis had a great Wimbledon but his season lost momentum and Felix is still looking for that big breakthrough.

Beginning with a 0-3 defeat is not the ideal start to the ATP Cup but they rallied, Canada lost their first four rubbers as Shapovalov then lost to Evans but Felix stemmed the tide to beat Cam Norrie before the two teamed up to dominate Jamie Murray and Joe Salisbury who won just five games.

Against Germany they both came into their own, Denis and Felix pretty much won on the same scoreline. Denis beat Struff 7-6 4-6 6-3 where as Felix Auger Aliassime stunned Alex Zverev to win 6-4 4-6 6-3.

In the semi-finals Denis beat Safiulin in three sets, Auger-Aliassime was bageled in a defeat to Medvedev but in the doubles they turned it on from a set down to beat Medvedev and Safiullin 4-6 7-5 10-7.

Saving their best till last, you have to credit what Denis Shapovalov and Félix Auger-Aliassime have done throughout the week, Felix saw off Zverev but both players’ respective performances in the final were outstanding against Spain. It had determination, grit and a resilience I hope this is the start of a fantastic season for them.

Notable mentions to Taylor Fritz and Ugo Humbert

the USA and France did’t get out of the group stage but for Taylor Fritz and Ugo Humbert they shone for their country with some epic performances.

Taylor Fritz begun with a three set comeback win over Auger-Aliassime, a win in doubles with Isner on two occasions, a third was denied by Great Britain in a match tie-break and the American also defeated Britain’s No.1, Cam Norrie in three sets.

Ugo Humbert led a decimated French team who arrived late but he was quick out of the blocks winning 6-7 7-5 7-6 against Daniil Medvedev and lost some close battles to Matteo Berrettini and Alex de Minaur.

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