Bautista opened with triumph over Lajovic (7-5 and 6-1), but the world ranking number one succumbed to a sublime rival (6-2 and 7-6 ).
Balearic tennis player Rafael Nadal succumbed 6-2 and 7-6 (4) against Serbian Novak Djokovic in the second match of the ATP Cup final, which is being played this Sunday in Sydney (Australia), and the title will have have to decide with the doubles match.
On the track of the Ken Rosewall Arena, inside the Sydney Olympic Park, Nadal was overcome after a quality duel and lasted 1 hour and 56 minutes. Thus, the leader of the world ranking could not tie the title or follow the good path of Castellón Roberto Bautista, who had achieved the first point of the tie by beating 7-5 and 6-1 to Dusan Lajovic.
The survival of the Serbian team was, for that reason, in the hands of a Djokovic who has an added value in his idyll with the tracks ‘aussies’. Their great seasons usually start very early every year, always opting for the Melbourne crown to scare from the first ‘Grand Slam’.
So it was not surprising that, to begin its journey in this new and novel final, ‘Nole’ broke the first turn of the opposite serve. Almost 10 minutes of play took Manacor to yield 1-0, a set that consolidated the Balkan immediately to take the lead (3-1) and continue to disturb the rest.
Nadal saved two ‘break’ balls in the fifth game, but did not prevent the seventh from falling from the rival side (5-2). In white, Djokovic closed the first sleeve in his favor and involuntarily gave a touch of attention to the Balearic, who had to climb steps of intensity in search of the comeback.
Accustomed to many battles of such caliber, Nadal interpreted it to solve without burden every shift of his own service. Opposite, the Belgrade player did the same until he reached the sixth game, when he lifted five break balls to an already emboldened opponent.
Soon after, the tables changed and it was Nadal who prevented Djokovic from breaking with 5-5 and 15-40. A lot of talent was seen by both of them, and the stands were grateful that the set needed a sudden death. The Balkan flopped then, although he recovered the cadence in the blow and devastated especially with his setbacks, initiating the 7-4 in said ‘tie-break’.
BAUTISTA OPENED THE WAY
But before the intense fight between the two best tennis players of the ATP circuit, Roberto Bautista had given Spain his first smile at breakfast time. In a state of grace, the Spaniard showed that his current condition of number 10 is no bluff.
Lajovic, with the support of the stands, showed his best version in the inaugural set. He was able to overcome a bad start, where the right-wing blows made by his rival were devastating. Bautista placed 2-0 and 40-0 up, when then his opponent woke up to save a very dangerous ball from the bottom of the track.
Despite finally giving up that game (3-0), the Balkan had already entered the job. And he showed it by adjudicating his subsequent service blank, scoring with difficulty his next serve and breaking in half the Baptist serve (3-3).
Having saved two ‘break’ opportunities, Lajovic did not want the first game of the grand final to escape so quickly. He even came out unharmed from a 4-3 down and 30-40 with his duty shift, which maintained equality and led the set to sudden death.
However, the Spaniard pressed the accelerator in the twelfth game and took advantage of his first option to break when he was 15-40, to certify 7-5 and start with confidence the second round. And there came the fuel of the Serbian, who was overwhelmed immediately.
Bautista aimed his first two shifts at the serve in white, breaking another two of his opponent and thereby achieving a broad 4-0 lead. Desperately, Lajovic connected a pair of accurate drives and consumed a break that extended an exchange of balls with obvious Spanish color.
The Castellón de la Plana continued with his versatility and broke again (5-1), consolidating such a situation to put the final 6-1 and track what would be a new success of Spanish tennis. Nadal’s stumble against Djokovic can still be amended with a doubles victory.