ATP Cup day 6 notes

Looking at Hubert Hurkacz move around the court and at his all court game, you would not guess he was 6ft 5 tall (196 cm). But his height is easier to gauge once he’s serving or he’s standing next to his opponents at the net come handshake time.

Hurkacz is 4 inches (11 cm) taller than his beaten opponent Dominic Thiem on day 6 of the ATP Cup. There was much less distance between them on the tennis court though, with Hurkacz winning 3-6, 6-4, 7-6 (5).

Hurkacz has the variety and touch to break up Thiem’s rhythm. The timing Thiem thrives on as he powers away at the ball so relentlessly just is not there versus players like Hurkacz who can keep Thiem guessing and force him into errors, too many of them of his own making.

Hurkacz, aged 22, has been a big sweeping breath of fresh air to the tour. There is nothing about him of the spoiled, racket-breaking, parent-abusing, tanking tennis brat on whom the media spotlight has shone both a flattering and ugly light. Hurckacz goes about his business letting his tennis do the talking and this year it has already had plenty of nice things to say, with wins, over Thiem, Coric and Schwartzman at this year’s ATP Cup. When Hurkacz does talk, he’s low-key and effortlessly charming.

Nikolas Basilashvili might have lived to regret convincing Pablo Cuevas to come back on court after the Argentinian threatened to default after the umpire warned him about distracting the Georgian during his service motion.

At the time of the warning, Bashilashvili was leading 5-4, 40-0, having just broken Cuevas, With Basilashvili serving for the set, Cuevas, on returning to the court, did a war cry to his team. He then did a frog leap before Basilashvili served at 15-0, and then bounced up and down with Basilashvili serving at 30-0. Cuevas received a code violation for not being in the right position on the return. The Uruguayan called on the supervisor who upheld the umpire’s decision resulting in Cuevas making his way to leave the court. He did not get far before Basilashvili intervened and coaxed his opponent back on court.

Cuevas came back out with some real fire inside him, losing the first set 4-6, but taking the second 6-1 and then taking the match deep into the third before losing it 4-6. Both men left the court proving themselves to be nothing less than the best of competitors.

Kevin Anderson defeated Benoit Paire, Gael Monfil’s replacement, saving match points in the process, 2-6, 7-6 (1), 7-6 (5). Paire served for the match at 5-2 in the second and led 4-2 in the third. Anderson is coming back from injury and had built good momentum in his career, reaching two slam finals (US Open, Wimbledon) in the space of ten months. These kind of battles are what he needs right now, and after his strong performance versus Novak Djokovic this event, he’s looking good at the start of 2020.

Other notes for the day:

  • Cristian Garin led Djokovic 3-1 in the second set. He did look a little flustered by that ascension after losing the first set 3-6, and he did not win another game.
  • Yoshihito Nishikoka served for the first set versus Rafa Nadal but could not serve it out and lost 6-7, 4-6.
  • Diego Schwartzman beat Borna Coric 6-2, 6-2. Coric was defeated by the same score in his previous match (l. Hurkacz).
  • The last eight starts tomorrow. The draw looks like this

Serbia Vs Canada

Argentina Vs Russia

Great Britain Vs Australia

Belgium Vs Spain

Grade: B+. There were a few really engaging and good quality matches today. Good showing considering it’s the last day and a lot of the final places had been decided. The playing for your country and team element is clearly inspiring the players in general and its paying dividends in terms of passion and atmosphere.

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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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