Sydney, Jan 7 (IANS) Roberto Bautista Agut clinched Spains place in the ATP Cup championship match on Friday with a thrilling 7-6(6), 2-6, 7-6(5) victory against Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz. Russia and Canada will meet on Saturday to earn the other spot in the final.
The 33-year-old Bautista has been flawless this edition, winning all four of his matches at No. 1 singles to lead the way for the two-time finalists.
“It’s a match that I will always remember. I think both of us could get the win today. He also really deserved a lot of good things. But this is our game, this is ten”is,” Bautista said. “Today I was the one who got the win. I think I also deserved it. I did a lot of good things on the court.”
Hurkacz was desperate to keep his country’s hopes alive and he played tremendous tennis, saving five match points with gutsy shot-making. But Bautista was relentless, eventually emerging victorious after a high-quality two hours and 44 minutes.
“Sometimes you get the win on the first match point. He played two or three lines in a row, but sometimes you stay focussed like today, you keep working, and finally, you lose the tie-break,” Bautista said. “But today I kept working and I got the win.”
The Sydney crowd roared in support of Hurkacz when he hit a terrific low backhand volley to save the first match point he faced and there was another eruption later in the game after Bautista missed a difficult forehand passing shot into the net on his second opportunity.
Another missed chance for Bautista two games later added to the tension in the air. Hurkacz continued to fight until the end, saving two more match points in the tie-break.
Hurkacz, a 2021 Nitto ATP Finals competitor, delivered 24 aces to just one for his opponent. He also showed great courage in rushing the net under pressure. But Bautista was a wall on the biggest points. His elation showed after clinching the victory, with a look of great relief on his face.