Spain into ATP Cup quarters after Bautista Agut victory

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PERTH, Australia — Spain advanced to the quarterfinals of the ATP Cup even before Rafael Nadal stepped on to the court Wednesday at the Perth Arena.

Spain, which won the Davis Cup in Madrid with a victory over Canada, stayed in the hunt for its second international team victory in seven weeks when Roberto Bautista Agut beat Go Soeda of Japan 6-2, 6-4.

Japan needed to beat Spain 3-0 in order for the Nadal-led team not to advance to the Final Eight in Sydney beginning Thursday. Nadal later had a 7-6 (4), 6-4 win over 72nd-ranked Yoshihito Nishioka.

“I always enjoy sharing important moments with friends, and we had a lot of success during our entire careers playing for our country in Davis Cup,” Nadal said. “So for us it’s a good start, to be able to be qualified for Sydney already. The conditions will be different, and a three-hour time (difference). There’s a lot of things we need to adjust to, and the period of time to make it happen is very short.”

Previously winless Poland’s surprise victory over Austria eliminated fourth-ranked Dominic Thiem’s team. Hubert Hurkacz’s 3-6, 6-4, 7-6 (5) victory over Thiem eliminated Austria after Kacper Zuk beat Dennis Novak 5-7, 7-6 (3), 6-3 in the opening match in Sydney.

In other matches on the final day of group play, already-qualified Serbia beat Chile in Group A. Dusan Lajovic beat Nicolas Jarry 6-2, 7-6 (3) before Novak Djokovic defeated Cristian Garin 6-3, 6-3.

The remaining quarterfinalists were decided later Wednesday: Argentina won Group E, Belgium was the first runner-up and Canada the second runner-up.

The quarterfinal lineup has Australia playing Britain and Argentina taking on Russia on Thursday. On Friday, Serbia plays Canada and Belgium takes on Spain, all at Ken Rosewall Arena at Sydney Olympic Park.

The semifinals are set for Saturday and the final on Sunday.

Giron cruises in 3rd set, beats Rybakov at Dallas Open

2023 Australian Open - Day 1
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DALLAS – Marcos Giron advanced to the second round of the Dallas Open with a 6-4, 6-7 (1), 6-1 victory over Alex Rybakov on Tuesday.

The seventh-seeded Giron, who reached the semifinals of the inaugural event a year ago, responded quickly after failing to close out the second set, winning the first five games of the deciding set.

Rybakov broke his fellow American when Giron was serving for the match in the second set. Then Rybakov won the first six points of the second-set tiebreaker.

“I’m really happy with how I was able to reset in the third and just get back to the game plan from the beginning and elevate,” Giron said. “He played well and served well and kind of hung in there.”

Eighth-seeded Adrian Mannarino of France won the final five points of a first-set tiebreaker and the last four games of the second to beat American Steve Johnson 7-6 (6), 6-2.

J.J. Wolf, the No. 6 seed, had little trouble in a 6-3, 6-3 victory over fellow American Brandon Holt.

John Isner, the fifth seed and unofficial tournament host in his hometown event, played later Tuesday. Like Giron, Isner lost in the semifinals last year.

Sock wins at Dallas Open, set to face top-seeded Fritz

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DALLAS – Wild-card entry Jack Sock opened with a 7-6 (2), 4-6, 6-4 victory over Ilya Ivashka at the Dallas Open, setting up a second-round meeting with top-seeded fellow American Taylor Fritz.

Sock broke Ivashka’s serve in the final game to win the match. Ivashka fell behind 2-0 to start the final set but broke Sock to get back on serve.

Down a break early in the second set, Ivashka rallied to force the deciding set after Sock cruised in the first-set tiebreaker.

The eighth-ranked Fritz is back for the second Dallas Open after losing in the semifinals as the top seed in the inaugural edition of the indoor hard-court event last year. Defending champion Reilly Opelka isn’t in the field.