Diego Schwartzman edges world number four Stefanos Tsitsipas to lock up Argentina’s triumph over Greece in Group D on Monday at the ATP Cup in Sydney.
The World No. 13 Diego Schwartzman gave his nation the tie over Team Greece as he battled from a set and a break down to beat 23-year-old Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-7(5), 6-3, 6-3 after two hours and 42 minutes in his third appearance at the group’s tournament.
In his on-court interview, the Argentinian said: “I was just trying to think that it was his first match for two months after his elbow [injury], so I was thinking just to try and be in the match. I had the chance, and I think I was ready. I am very happy because playing against Stefanos and being a set-and-a-break down is not easy, but I found a way.”
Greece’s number one racquet hit the Ken Rosewall Arena in Sydney to contest his first singles match since he underwent surgery on his right elbow last November.
Initially, he withdrew from his inaugural ATP Cup match with Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz, starting his campaign by playing doubles instead, alongside teammate Michaek Pervolarakis Saturday.
TWO FORCES MEET IN SYDNEY
On Monday, Schwartzman and Tsitsipas hit the Ken Rosewall Arena to play against each other for the first time since 2018 in Barcelona.
Unlike 2018, this time around, Schwartzman prevailed over the 7-time ATP titlist, showcasing a top tennis form on the hardcourt, facing an opponent, that even far from his best, raised to the occasion.
Schwartzman’s 11th career victory over a top 10 player did not come easy, taking the best out of the 29-year-old, who saw the 2021 Monte-Carlo Masters champion hold in the tiebreak to earn a first set 7-6(5) decided by small margins.
The Athens native continued his solid performance to break early in the second set, taking the lead.
However, the Argentina Open reigning champion regrouped to claim a 6-3 win forcing a decider, in which he came back from a set and a break down to close out the tie for his nation in style with a 6-3 triumph.
After the match, Tsitsipas assessed his performance: “It was good to see myself perform at such a level. I didn’t expect it.
“I’m in a little bit of pain. That’s normal. I served more serves than I have ever served in the last month. I have been practicing, trying to get 50, 60 serves in, and today I really went far. I was fatiguing in the end. I tried to avoid the pain, but I got to finish the match somehow.”
Further adding: “So, I’m really hoping to be able to walk on court tomorrow and practice some serves without pain. That’s my biggest goal right now, to have 100 percent recovery on my elbow.”
Earlier in the day, World No. 44 Federico Delbonis toppled Pervolarakis 7-6(5), 6-1 to give his country the lead against Team Greece.
Following the Buenos Aires native victory, the duo Maximo Gonzalez and Andres Molteni secured a 6-3, 4-6, [11-9] doubles win over Markos Kalovelonis and Petro Tsitsipas pairing.
GROUP D CONTENDERS TO THE SEMI-FINALS
The 2022 ATP Cup format features 16 qualified countries, split into four groups of four.
According to the rules, all ties feature singles matches between the respective No. 1 players and No. 2 players, followed by one doubles match.
Group D overall standings show Argentina and Poland having achieved a 2-0 score, and as the top-performing teams in their group, they will be the ones to battle to advance into the knockout semi-finals. Greece and Georgia (0-2 scores) are no longer in contention.
The South American squad set perfect scores (3-0) on both group matches versus Team Georgia and Greece.
Meanwhile, Team Poland led the Greeks 2-1 Saturday, outlasting 3-0 Georgia on Sunday.
The two semi-finals will be played between 7-8 January, and the grand finale will take place on 9 January.
The event runs from 1-9 January across two venues in Sydney - Ken Rosewall Arena and the Qudos Bank Arena - both sited at Sydney Olympic Park.