MELBOURNE, Australia — Novak Djokovic and his defending champion Serbia squad will play Germany and Canada in group play at the ATP Cup from Feb. 1-5 at Melbourne Park.
The draw held Friday also has Australia playing in a tough group with Rafael Nadal’s Spain as well as Greece in Group B. Serbia beat Spain in the final of the inaugural 2020 ATP Cup.
Greece will be led by No. 6-ranked Stefanos Tsitsipas. Alex de Minaur leads the Australian lineup that made the semifinals last year.
The inaugural event was played last year in Brisbane, Perth and Sydney. But because of restrictions in place for the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2021 edition will be played entirely at Melbourne Park, site of the Australian Open, which starts Feb. 8.
The 12 teams have been divided into four pools for group stage, round-robin play. The four group winners will advance to the semifinals.
Group A: Serbia, Germany, Canada.
Group B: Spain, Greece, Australia.
Group C: Austria, Italy, France.
Group D: Russia, Argentina, Japan.
ASTANA, Kazakhstan — Carlos Alcaraz’s first match as the No. 1-ranked player ended with a straight-set loss to David Goffin at the Astana Open.
The 19-year-old Spaniard lost 7-5, 6-3 in his first tour match since winning the U.S. Open and capturing the No. 1 ranking.
“David was playing really, really well. To come back to competition is never easy,” Alcaraz said. “It’s really tough for me, for my confidence.”
Alcaraz came from 5-2 down to level the first set at 5-5, only to be broken again by his Belgian opponent.
“When you play against the World No. 1 on a big stage, big crowd, the fire inside gives you so much power to play your best tennis because you don’t have any choice,” Goffin said. “You have to fight and give your best and that was the case today.”
Second-seeded Daniil Medvedev and No. 3-seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas both avoided similar upsets. Medvedev beat Albert Ramos-Vinolas of Spain 6-3, 6-1 and Tsitsipas ousted Kazakhstan’s Mikhail Kukushkin 6-3. 6-4.
OSTRAVA, Czech Republic — Fifth-seeded Daria Kasatkina defeated 2021 U.S. Open champion Emma Raducanu 7-5, 6-4 to advance to the second round of the Agel Open.
Kasatkina was playing her first match since losing in the first round of the U.S. Open and will next face Ekaterina Alexandrova.
Sixth-seeded Belinda Bencic of Switzerland rallied to eliminate former top-five player Eugenie Bouchard of Canada 6-7 (7), 6-1, while Aliaksandra Sasnovich upset eighth-seeded Jelena Ostapenko 6-2, 6-2.
American qualifiers Alycia Parks and Catherine McNally both advanced. Parks upset Czech Karolina Pliskova 6-0, 7-6 (3) and McNally eased past Anna Blinkova 6-1, 6-2 at the indoor hardcourt event in the Czech eastern city of Ostrava.