ATP Cup – Germany eliminate holders Serbia to set up Russia semi-finals

Holders Serbia are out of the ATP Cup after losing to Germany in round-robin competition on Friday afternoon, even though Novak Djokovic won his singles match against Alexander Zverev.

Jan-Lennard Struff

The ATP Cup semi-finals are set after round-robin competition concluded on Friday, one day later than expected because of Thursday’s postponement for coronavirus testing. Defending champions Serbia won’t be around for the weekend after they were eliminated by Germany in Group A. With that, the Germans are into the semis and await a showdown with Russia on Saturday. On the other side of the bracket it will be Spain v Italy.

Struff stands tall as Germany oust Serbia

Jan-Lennard Struff came up big for Germany twice on Friday. The world No 37, who also defeated Milos Raonic in his country’s win over Canada on Wednesday, kicked off the tie against Serbia by beating Dusan Lajovic in three sets. His services would soon be required again after world No 1 Novak Djokovic kept the Serbs’ hopes alive by overcoming Alexander Zverev from a set down. In the decisive doubles rubber, Struff and Zverev teamed up to beat Djokovic and Nikola Cacic in a super-tiebreaker. The German duo fell into an early 3-0 hole in the ‘breaker only to dominate the rest of the way.

Germany d. Serbia 2-1, Rod Laver Arena (Group A)

  • Match 1: Jan-Lennard Struff (GER) d. Dusan Lajovic (SRB) 3-6, 6-3, 6-4
  • Match 2: Novak Djokovic (SRB) d. Alexander Zverev (GER) 6-7(3), 6-2, 7-5
  • Match 3: Struff/Zverev (GER) d. Cacic/Djokovic (SRB) 7-6(4), 5-7, 10-7

Without Nadal, Spain do enough despite loss to Greece

Needing only one point in their match against Greece, Spain was quick to secure their spot in the semi-finals. The 2020 runners-up were in great shape after sweeping Australia 2-0 on Wednesday and they were not about to let their title aspirations slip away, as heavy favourites in this tie. Pablo Carreno Busta took care of Michail Pervolarakis in the opening singles rubber to ensure that it would be a successful day for the Spaniards. It did not matter in the grand scheme of things for the tournament, but Greece came back to win the tie thanks to Stefanos Tsitsipas‘ singles victory over Roberto Bautista Agut followed by a Spanish retirement in the doubles match.

Greece d. Spain 2-1, John Cain Arena (Group B)

  • Match 1: Pablo Carreno Busta (ESP) d. Michail Pervolarakis (GRE) 6-3, 6-4
  • Match 2: Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE) d. Roberto Bautista Agut (ESP) 7-5, 7-5
  • Match 3: Kalovelonis/Tsitsipas (GRE) d. Carreno Busta/Granollers (ESP) 1-0, ret.

France leave ATP Cup with a win

In a tie that had no bearing on the overall outcome of the event, France got the best of Austria 2-1. Both teams were already eliminated with losses to Italy. It was the Frenchmen who at least managed to snag a moral victory on Friday night, taking the doubles match after the two singles rubbers were split.

France d. Austria 2-1, Rod Laver Arena (Group C)

  • Match 1: Nicolas Mahut (FRA) d. Dennis Novak (AUT) 7-6(2), 6-2
  • Match 2: Dominic Thiem (AUT) d. Benoit Paire (FRA) 6-1, ret.
  • Match 3: Mahut/Roger-Vasselin (FRA) d. Oswald/Weissborn (AUT) 6-3, 6-3

Also read: Nadal v Djokovic, Tsitsipas brothers, father and son Thiem – 8 things you need to know about the ATP Cup
Also read: 10 questions about the 2021 ATP CUP – tickets, schedule, competitors and more!

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