Tennis is one of the loneliest sports there is together with boxing. It is you against your opponent and no one else to help, that is on the pro set up at least. So have heard players who are happy with the team set up in team tennis tournaments such as Davis Cup and this one ,the ATP CUP. This competition inaugurated in 2020 is a country versus country tournament which ordinarily has 24 countries competing over 10 days. Because of covid 19 it was whittled down to 12 last year and 16 this. It serves as a prelude to the Australian Open and is held in Sydney Australia. Last year’s winners Russia taking in France in the group stages on Day 2. The defending champs were off to a great start with a player called Roman Safiullin beating Arthur Rinderkneck in three sets to give mother Russia a 1-0 lead. Roman was playing only because of withdrawals by Aslan Karatsev and Andrey Rublev.
The second rubber which is my focus today pits Daniil Medvedev against Ugo Humbert. Ugo is great on grass showing by winning Halle last year but not so much in hard court. Humbert has a neat baseline game though and was so close to win the opening set here. He took more risks on the Daniil serve like at 2-1 first set and was rewarded with the break back soon after going down. Daniil, fresh from winning Davis Cup for Russia, was strong in serve throughout the match only losing it after long deuce games. Ugo’s serve from the ad court going to the right hander’s back hand was the most effective. From 2-2 match went on serve until the tie breaker. The Frenchman’s best game was at 4-4 when he was starting to find the lines in typical Ugo fashion. A lesson for Daniil was the need to serve down the T on the ad court instead of Ugo’s blistering forehand like at 5-4(40-0). It must have felt good though to come back from 1-4 down in the breaker to win it.
Ugo looked dead and buried down 0-3 in the second set. He needed a good hold and he did so to make it 3-1 and broke again to get the set back on serve. The game went on serve until 5-5 , keeping Daniil in a baseline scrap. Ugo struck in that 22th game doing well to comeback after Daniil Aced him out in the first two points. Ugo wind the second set 7-5. The third wax a close affair which was won after another breaker by Ugo to shock the world number two and level the tie 1-1. It is now down to the doubles tie today to separate the two countries. None was required in the match between USA and Canada though. John Isner and Taylor Fritz handing team USA their first win in the ATP CUP over Felix Auger Aliassime and Schnur. The later coming in for Denis Shapovalov who withdrew. Fritz making it a straight forward straight sets win. Isner had a tougher time as expected against Felix ,doing it in three sets.