ATP Cup Day 5 notes

Nick Kyrgios left his mark on the ATP Cup beating Stefanos Tsitsipas 7-6, 6-7, 7-6. The Australian was bought in as a replacement for Alex de Minaur who was being rested for precautionary measures after his efforts versus Sascha Zverev and Denis Shapovalov. I was not aware teams could pick and choose who they wanted to play from their top 3. I thought that was why Reilly Opelka had been so critical of the event- as the US No.3, ranked 39, he would miss out on ranking points and prize money opportunities while world No.2s from countries with less tennis depth would have those chances.

Picking Kyrgios was the smart move. He has beaten Tsistsipas in their only encounter, another tight one back in Washington last season. Meanwhile Tsitsipas led de Minaur 3-0.

Kyrgios, the Australian No.2, had been sitting out his matches with No.3 Milman taking his place. Because de Minaur was injured, Kyrgios was now the No.1, and back healed, he took to the court to go shot-maker to shot-maker with the Greek.

Points were over quickly, both players attacking. It really was a shot makers delight.

It was also a meme-lovers, one, too. Kyrgios did not oblige, though; it was all the Greek. Tsitsipas, on losing the first set, threw his racket, physically injuring his father who was sitting courtside and who did not waste time moving to a seat at the back of the team seating area. Tsitsipas’ mother was not afraid to confront her son, though. She roundly chastised him and then left the court in disgust and a meme was born.

She came back for more, too, as Tsitsipas received treatment from the trainer, the Greek getting it from all sides. He was lucky to just receive a point penalty, too. It could have been a default, but this being the ATP Cup, anything goes, especially if it keeps the crowds entertained.

Kyrgios won the match, much to the man he stood in for de Minaur’s delight. The Australian is as vociferous a supporter as he is a player.

This tournament’s other parent destroyer, Sascha Zverev, suffered another loss, this time to Denis Shapovalov, 2-6, 2-6. This time there were 7 double faults and a 29% second serve percentage. For Zverev, the nightmare of the ATP Cup is likely over with Germany third in their group. Where he goes next is anyone’s guess. A week and a half might not be enough to work out that service game, but it’s better than his previous form of no practice at all (he himself admitted he did not pick up a racket until arriving in Brisbane).

Other notes of the day are:

  • Goffin defeated Dimitrov 4-6, 6-2, 6-2, picking up only his second win in ten matches versus the Bulgarian.
  • Michail Pervolarakis, ranked 486, took John Millman to a final set tiebreaker. Pervolarakis lost 6-4, 1-6, 6-7 (1) and was unable to make anything of the final set tiebreaker, but he won’t forget the ATP Cup for all the right reasons and it will be interesting to see if there is any positive impact on his game and fortunes.
  • 417th ranked Dimitar Kuzmanov defeated Steve Darcis, ranked 200 and who retires after this Australian Open, 6-0, 6-3.
  • Only 3 of the day’s 12 singles matches went the distance. Two of those were in the same tie, Australia Vs Greece.

Grade C+. Kyrgios versus Tsitsipas is always going to be entertaining. Other than that, though, the tournament is starting to wear thin quality and interest wise on day 5 and is starting to drag. The quarter-finals seem a long way off and tomorrow feels a little like the last day of the ATP WTF feels with most of the group qualifiers pretty much decided.

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Christian Deverille

Christian Deverille is a tennis writer with a diploma in Freelance Sports Writing from the London School of Journalism. He loves all things tennis, most of all the Federer and del Potro forehands.
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