Spain rolled Australia 2-0 on Saturday with Rafael Nadal and Roberto Bautista Agut delivering a one-two punch to reach the final of the inaugural ATP Cup in Sydney.
The Spaniard will play for the title on Sunday against Serbia led by Novak Djokovic; the Nadal Djokovic singles rubber will be a re-run of the 2019 Wimbledon final won by the Serb.
ATP No. 2 Djokovic assured his nation a place in the title match by winning a hard-fought 6-1, 5-7, 6-4 struggle with Russia’s Daniil Medvedev in a battle of Top 5 players.
Nadal staged a comeback for the second tie in a row in the knockout stage of the new competition.
After losing the opening set to Australian Alex De Minaur, he worked to take the second and claimed a 4-6, 7-5, 6-1 win to put his nation over the line.
“It was a tough beginning of the match, he was playing at a very high level,” Nadal said of Spanish-trained De Minaur, based in Alicante.
“My energy was a bit lower than usual after two tough days. Yesterday (quarter-finals) was a long day with heavy conditions.
“This was a very emotional evening for me,” said the player who went up a double break in the third set n his way to the win.”
Nadal said he and Spain will work to be ready for the final push against Serbia.
“It will be super-tough against Novak, he’s been playing very well. I expect a difficult battle.
Bautista Agut maintained a clean sheet in ATP Cup singles as he won his fifth with a 6-1, 6-4 hammering of Nick Kyrgios, whose usual frustrations were evident throughout.
“Everyone knows how tough it is to play Nick,” the 10th-ranked Spaniard said. “It was great to win in straight sets.
“I did my job well and played a very solid match. The game plan was to keep him under pressure, make him work the whole match.”
Kyrgios fired 13 aces bu also had 45 unforced errors; his opponent won with just seven.”
Spain will be seeking a second team title in as many months after winning the Davis Cup in Madrid last November.