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Spain beat Poland to reach ATP Cup final

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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.

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“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.

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“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.

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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.

–IANS

inj/bsk

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