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De Minaur loss puts Aussies out of ATP Cup

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3rd February, 2021
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Australia won the battle but not the war, bowing out of the ATP Cup despite beating Greece 2-1 in their final round-robin match.

Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas effectively scuppered the home country’s slim hopes of making the semi-finals with a straight-sets win over Alex de Minaur.

While Australia went on to claim the tie with wins for John Millman and the doubles pairing of John Peers and Luke Saville, the side’s 3-0 opening loss to Spain will weigh too heavily against them in the standings.

Spain will now be heavy favourites to progress to the semi-finals with a win or even a modest loss to Greece, even more so if Rafael Nadal plays.

De Minaur displayed his usual pluck and court speed against the world number six but Tsitsipas showed his quality when it mattered to win 6-3 7-5.

Alex de Minaur

(Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

The Australian recovered from an early break in the first set only to hand another one over to the Greek who then closed out the set.

De Minaur had two set points in the second set but when he failed to capitalise, Tsitsipas broke the world number 23 and finished off the match on serve.

Earlier, Millman had too much class for world number 462 Pervolarakis, winning 6-2 6-3. Pervolarakis had thoroughly tested the Queenslander across three sets when the pair met at the same tournament last year but world number 38 Millman stayed in full control this time around.

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Enjoying a double break in the first set, Millman secured another early in the second.

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The Cypriot-born Greek briefly threatened to snatch the break back at 3-5 but Millman dug in to hold and take the match.

With the tie on the line, Peers teamed with Saville to take on Tsitsipas and Pervolarakis. A relatively new combination, they looked sharp in taking the first set before losing their way in the second.

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But Peers and Saville got their noses in front early in the super tiebreak and were never headed, going on to win the match 6-3 4-6 10-5.

“We’re always a strong team unit together,” Peers said.

“We’ll come out strong for the Aussie summer. It was great to see the boys fight so hard. Fingers crossed, they can get over the line once the Aussie Open starts.”

© AAP