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In ATP Cup Final 8, Kyrgios & de Minaur heroic in edging Great Britain
In front of an ignited home crowd, Team Australia prevailed against Great Britain in an epic tiebreaker. In less dramatic fashion, Russia won both singles matches to clinch against Argentina.
Published Jan 09, 2020
It was a match that came down to a doubles decider and the finest of margins. Saving four match points, team Australia came out on top in a nail-biting tiebreaker, with Jamie Murray missing a routine finishing volley—ultimately leading to Nick Kyrgios and Alex de Minaur capturing the intense overtime session, 18-16.
Kyrgios kicked off the ATP Cup quarterfinals with a relentless, 6-2, 6-2 victory over Great Britain's Cameron Norrie. The Aussie came bursting out the gates and controlled the match from start to finish.
It seems playing in a team environment brings out the best in Kyrgios. The world No. 29 smashed 11 aces, threw in occasional underarm serves and used his craftiness to dismiss the Brit.
Looking to seal the tie victory, de Minaur started in similar fashion to his teammate Kyrgios. The 20-year-old Aussie quickly arrived to a 3-0 lead against Dan Evans. However, Evans answered back with three consecutive games and was able to absorb the strong start from de Minaur. Evans would go on to capture a tension-filled first set, 7-6 (4).
Approaching the net at the right times and maintaining his composure, de Minaur would claim the second set 6-4. It appeared as if de Minaur would find his way back, just as he did in his two previous bouts.
But in a seesaw-like match filled with fiery passing shots and put-away volleys, Evans would inch past de Minaur, 7-6 (4), 4-6, 7-6 (2), to tie things up and force a doubles decider.
Doubles specialist Jamie Murray and Joe Salisbury overcame a few hiccups to capture the first set for Great Britain, 6-3. However, de Minaur and Kyrgios revealed a higher level of play in the second set and served the Brits an identical second-set score.
With an ignited home crowd erupting in cheers, the pressure was on for Kyrgios and de Minaur, but there were no signs of butterflies. Down multiple match points, the Aussie duo would maintain an extraordinary level of play to win the match tiebreaker, 18-16. In the final four, Austria will next face the winner of Friday night's match between Belgium and Spain.
Following the opening quarterfinal was Russia vs. Argentina. Karen Khachanov came to win and dropped only one first-serve point his the opening set against Guido Pella. The Argentine seemed to lack vibrancy and appeared lethargic in the opening set.
Pella attempted to lift his energy and efforts in the second set, but it was too late. Khachanov would claim the match, 6-2, 7-6 (4), to improve to 4-0 in the ATP Cup singles and bring Russia one step closer to the semifinals.
Afterward, Diego Schwartzman battled to claim his first win over a Top 5 opponent, but Daniil Medvedev proved to be too powerful for the Argentine. However, it was anything but an easy day at the office for the Russian.
Medvedev found himself in multiple confrontations, one in which involved slamming his racquet into the umpire's chair. But ultimately, Medvedev would power through, using his movement and superb ball placement to claim the match, 6-4, 4-6, 6-3, clinching the win for Team Russia.
Russia advances into the final four and will battle against the winner between Serbia and Canada for a spot in the event's final.