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Bautista Agut and De Minaur victorious on Day 1 of Valencia exhibition
Staged on red clay, The Region of Valencia Tennis Challenge kicked off on Friday with its four competitors. Pablo Carreno Busta and Pablo Andujar will look to regroup after losing their round-robin openers.
Published Jun 05, 2020
The waves aren't the only thing crashing the shores of Benitachell this weekend. The first action-packed tennis in Spain is breaking into the scenic beach town at the Cumbres del Sol Sports Club.
The Region of Valencia Tennis Challenge, a red-clay-court exhibition, features world No. 12 Roberto Bautista Agut, No. 25 Pablo Carreno Busta, No. 26 Alex de Minaur and No. 53 Pablo Andujar. Similar to other exhibition events, such as the UTR Pro Match Series in Florida, the tournament has no live spectators and is following strict social distancing guidelines.
On what should have been championship weekend at Roland Garros, the top names traded forehand and backhands in an unfamiliar setting. Although playing under unusual restrictions, the four players are showing the world where tennis may be headed for the remainder of the 2020 season.
De Minaur kicked off the three-day event with a dominating 6-2, 6-3 win against Andujar. The Spaniard couldn't seem to find his rhythm, which led the Aussie wasting no time by stepping in to drive balls away from Andujar. With well-executed drop shots, slices and backhands down the line, Andujar attempted to make his way back into the match, but it wasn't enough to take De Minaur out of his comfort zone.
Closing out Day 1, fellow Grand Slam semifinalists Carreno Busta and Bautista Agut squared off. The straightforward conditions in the earlier half of the day began to dissipate when problematic winds entered the beach city.
"Desperate times call for desperate measures," commentator Leif Shiras said.
With Carreno Busta's back against the wall, the saying couldn't have been more true. The Spaniard made an attempt to slow down his compatriot, avoiding long rallies by serving and volleying, and charging the net at every opportunity. However, he wasn't able to overcome Bautista Agut's consistency. On his third match point, Bautista Agut forced a net error from his compatriot's racquet to wrap up the 6-4, 6-4 victory.
The round-robin event continues on Saturday, beginning at 7:30 a.m. ET. Bautista Agut takes on Andujar, before De Minaur clashes with Carreno Busta.
Saturday's action will begin at 7:30 a.m. ET.