SYDNEY (Reuters) – Novak Djokovic defies the extreme humidity to beat tricky opponent Gael Monfils at the first ATP Cup team event in Brisbane on Monday 6: 3 and 6: 2.
Novak Djokovic of Serbia in action during his game against Gael Monfils of France on day 4 of the ATP Cup tennis tournament at the Pat Rafter Arena in Brisbane, Australia, January 6, 2020. AAP Image / Albert Perez
Rafael Nadal, the world's number 1, was also in a punitive mood and continued his preparations for this month's Australian Open by expanding Uruguayan Pablo Cuevas 6-2 and 6-1 in Perth to draw against Spain seal.
Roberto Bautista Agut had Spain after an equally one-sided 6-1-6-2 win over Franco Roncadelli in the ATP Cup worth $ 15 million, in which 24 nations competed against each other in ten days in Perth, Brisbane and Sydney, transfer the leadership.
The world's best players have gathered for the ATP Cup and are preparing for the first Grand Slam of the year, which starts in Melbourne on January 20.
Djokovic had a 15-0 record against Monfils before the game on Monday. After surviving a first attack by his opponent, he made sure that the balance remained clear.
The Serb saved nine breakpoints for himself and converted all three points against Monfils, who finished in the top 10 in 2019 to make up for the tie after the spirited Benoit Paire led France 6-2 to Dusan Lajovic 6-7 ( 6) 6-4.
"It was definitely one of the wettest conditions I've ever had in my career," said Djokovic in an interview at the court. "I mean, it was brutal tonight.
“Obviously, playing Gael is never easy. You come to court knowing that you will have a lot of exchanges, a lot of rallies. He is a great fighter and a great friend of mine. I wish him all the best. Bad luck today. "
South African Anderson, who is getting fit again, won his first game since returning to competitive sports with a 6: 0: 6: 3 win against Chilean Cristian Garin.
Anderson, a runner-up at the 2017 US Open and Wimbledon a year later, only played five tournaments last year due to injuries before undergoing knee surgery in September.
The 33-year-old lost 7: 6 (5) 7: 6 (6) against Djokovic on Saturday, his first game since Wimbledon's third round in July, but proved too good for Garin.
Former number five in the world had no chance against Garin and sealed the draw against South Africa.
Dominic Thiem, fourth in the world, also recovered from his season opening loss to Borna Coric by defeating Diego Schwartzman 6-3, 7-6 (3).
Marin Cilic, the 2014 US Open champion, continued the win on Saturday against Austrian Dennis Novak with a 7-6 (8) 6-4 win against 20-year-old Kacper Zuk from Poland.
Cilic converted only one of 13 break point opportunities, but his victory in Sydney was enough to score Croatia's second win after beating Austria 3-0.
Japan also celebrated their second win when Yoshihito Nishioka and Go Soeda emerged victorious in their individual games to seal the draw against Georgia in Perth.
Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly in Mumbai; Edited by Peter Rutherford and Christian Radnedge