ATP Cup 2021: Nadal resumes his ATP campaign by taking on Alex de Minaur
Last year's runner-ups Spain lock horns against hosts Australia in the ATP Cup in Melbourne. The clash would see the 'King of Clay', Rafael Nadal, take part in the evening session on Day 1.
Spain defeated Australia in the semifinals in the 2020 edition of the tournament. They will be without veteran, Feliciano Lopez and Albert Ramos Vinolas who have opted to play in the Great Ocean Road Open and the Murray River Open respectively.
The Aussies will miss the services of the mercurial Nick Kyrgios who will be in action in the ATP 250 Murray River Open.
1 - Roberto Bautista Agut vs John Millman
Agut played a major role in Spain reaching the finals last year winning all his six matches in the tournament. “We have been practicing a lot in the past few months, I think now it is time to compete, I think everybody did the job well and we are ready to start the season playing a nice event," said Agut sounding positive. Millman too won every match he played last year in the ATP Cup. Agut leads the head to head record 5-0 against Millman.
The World number 13 has an impressive foot speed and is strong from the baseline. On the other hand, the World number 38 is a strong counterpuncher and has an attacking game to beat the big players.
Prediction - Roberto Bautista Agut to win in three sets
2 - Rafael Nadal vs Alex de Minaur
Nadal took part in the A Day at the Drive exhibition tournament in Adelaide beating the World number 3, Dominic Thiem 7-5 6-4. The Spaniard beat de Minaur in three sets in the semifinals last year. The World number 2, Nadal, also leads the head to head record 3-0 against the World number 23.
de Minaur won the Antalya Open this month after getting a walkover while leading 2-0 against Alexander Bublik in the finals.
Nadal's main weapons are his heavy forehand and clever cross-court passes by finding acute angles. de Minaur has to control the rallies by using his court positioning smartly to unsettle Nadal. With his speedy legs, the Australian can equally match Nadal for every shot.
Prediction - Rafael Nadal to win in three sets
3 - The doubles combination has not yet been finalized but it will most likely Pablo Carreno Busta/ Marcel Granollers take on John Peers/ Luke Saville
Featured Image Credits - ATP Tour