Powerhouse Spain took further aim at a possible second team title in three months as Rafael Nadal and Roberto Bautista Agut crushed the life of out outclassed Uruguay on Monday for a rollicking 2-0 win at the ATP Cup in Perth.

Ninth-ranked Bautista Agut, his new wife looking on in the audience, hammered out a 6-1, 6-2 defeat of neophyte Franco Roncadelli, taking 57 minutes to go through the player without an official ranking.

World No. 1 Rafael Nadal was equally ruthless, tolerating no resistance as he hammered Pablo Cuevas 6-2, 6-1.

 

The Iberian Davis Cup winner from last November at home in Madrid stand a perfect 2-0 in ties at the 24-team event whose preliminaries are being held through Wednesday in Perth, Brisbane and Sydney.

The knockout quarters begin on Friday in Sydney.

Cuevas, ranked 45th, lost for the eighth straight time against a Top 10 opponent as he came up against the formidable Nadal, whom he trails 4-1 in their career series.

Roberto Bautista Agut in action against Uruguay’s Franco Roncadelli. Photo: Anne Parker International Sports Fotos Ltd/Alamy Live News

Bautista Agut, an Australian Open quarter-finalist a year ago in Melbourne,   went into the opening rubber of the ties with no real information on his long-odds opponent, aged 19 who had never played in a Tour-level match.

“It it was a good match,” Bautista Agut said. “It’s never easy to play against a player you’ve never seen play.

“It was a good win again and it’s good to start the season playing some matches, just getting into the rhythm.”

But he warned: “It’s going to be much tougher i the final tie with Japan on Wednesday.

“They have shown some good tennis in the first two ties; we need to win if we want to finish first in our group.”

Rafa Nadal applauds the crowd after he beats Pablo Cuevas. Photo Roger Parker International Sports Fotos Ltd/Alamy Live News

With steady hands at the helm, Spain are sounding confident. “I am experienced in these situations,” Nadal said.

“”I have a lot of experience, nothing is new for us here. We went through a lot of important moments in Davis Cup, we know how to manage the situation.”

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