ATP Cup 2021: Spain vs Italy: Busta vs Fognini | Agut vs Berrettini
Spain continues their charge for the title as they take on an in-form Italy in the semifinals of the ATP Cup at Melbourne Park
Spain lost to Greece 2-1 after the doubles pair of Pablo Carreno Busta and Marcel Granollers gave a walkover in the final match.
Rafael Nadal did not play after deciding to give himself rest owing to a lower back issue.
Italy won both their matches against Austria and France in the league stage to reach the semis.
1 - Pablo Carreno Busta vs Fabio Fognini
Busta beat World number 462, Michail Pervolarakis in straight sets in his last match. He landed 85% of his first serves in and also converted three out of four breakpoints.
Fognini defeated Frenchman Benoit Paire 6-1 7-6 in the group stage. The Italian won 76% of his first serve points and converted 5 out of 8 breakpoints.
Busta leads the head to head record 7-0 against Fognini. The Italian would be fresher for the clash having got 2 days of rest compared to Busta who is playing continuously.
The importance of the ATP Cup for Busta
Busta featured in the first edition of the ATP Cup but played only the doubles matches partnering Nadal and Feliciano Lopez. Ahead of the long season, he has found good form winning all his singles matches so far.
The significance of the ATP Cup for Fognini
Fognini also took part in last year's ATP Cup and played both singles and doubles matches for Italy. After undergoing ankle surgery in 2020, he looks fully fit and raring to go for the 2021 season.
The stats that matter for Busta are
|Player Name||Pablo Carreno Busta|
|First Serve %||86%|
|Breakpoint Conversion Rate||63.63%|
|Win % on First Serve||82%|
|Win % on Second Serve||58%|
The numbers that will determine the performance of Fognini are
|Player Name||Fabio Fognini|
|First Serve %||71%|
|Breakpoint Conversion Rate||66.67%|
Prediction - Pablo Carreno Busta to win in three sets
2 - Roberto Bautista Agut vs Matteo Berrettini
Agut tasted his first-ever defeat in the ATP Cup going down to Stefanos Tsitsipas in the group stage match against Greece. The Spaniard could win only 36% of points on his second serve in a below-par showing.
On the other hand, Berrettini comprehensively beat Gael Monfils 6-4 6-2 in the league stage clash against France. Despite winning only 33% of points on his second serve, he backed it up by claiming 74% of points on his first serve and converting 5 out of 8 breakpoints.
Berrettini leads the head to head record 3-1 against Agut. All their matches so far have finished in straight sets.
Agut's hot stats
- Out of the two matches, Agut has played so far, 72% of his first serves have landed in, 9 aces, and a breakpoint conversion rate of 28.57%
Berrettini's crucial numbers
- He has played two matches and smashed 11 aces, won 73.5% of his first-serve points, and has a breakpoint conversion rate of 52.95%.
How ATP Cup is beneficial for Agut
Roberto Bautista Agut was critical to Spain's run to the final in the ATP Cup last year. Agut won all his matches. The Spaniard generally begins his season on a good note and will aim to maintain consistency throughout the year this time.
How ATP Cup is advantageous for Berrettini
Berrettini did not take part in the ATP Cup in 2020. Hence, playing in a team atmosphere against some quality opponents would have been a good experience for him ahead of bigger challenges in the Australian Open.
Prediction - Matteo Berrettini to win in straight sets
3 - The doubles teams have not yet been announced. It will most likely feature Busta/Marcel Granollers against Simone Bolelli/Andre Vavassori or Berrettini/Fognini. There is also an outside chance for Nadal to play in case he wants some match practice.
Will Spain go the distance and take a step forward in winning their maiden ATP title or will Italy spring a big surprise, do let us know in the comments below.
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