Spanish World No. 2 Rafael Nadal retired from his country’s ATP Cup tie against Australia with a stiff lower back, but his teammates didn’t need him and beat the home team on Tuesday evening at the Rod Laver Arena with 2 : 0

Nadal’s replacement Pablo Carreno Busta (the world Nr16) Australia’s world Nr38 John Millman 6-2, 6-4 first, then world Nr13 Roberto Bautista Agut defeated the world Nr23 Alex de Minaur 4-6, 6-4, 6- 4

De Minaur started the game in the form in which he won the Antalya Open in mid-January, where he defeated David Goffin on the way to his tournament victory

Australian Alex de Minaur and Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut congratulate each other after their Group B single game on the first day of the ATP Cup on TuesdayCredit: Getty Images

The first movement was full of changing pauses The Australian played fearless tennis, beat the winners and hit his first serve against his opponent

He took the lead 5-1 in the set, and Bautista Agut fought back to bring the set to 5-4

Playing a varied game, rushing to the net to keep his opponent from settling in a groove, and effortlessly following the baseline when Bautista Agut tried in vain to overtake him

His serve and ability to hit the winners, however, wavered in the second set as the Spaniard improved his game While de Minaur saved three target values ​​to 5: 3, he finally lost the set with 6: 4

Bautista continued this rhythm in the third set, broke the Australian in the third game and then served the match and the tie, although de Minaur did not make it easy for him

In the first game, Carreno Busta Millman broke in the third game of the first set, but the tough Australian broke back in the fourth when the Spaniard’s serve stalled

But from then on Carreno Busta cracked the whip, overwhelmed Millman convincingly with his rocket forehead and pushed the Australian further and further behind the baseline

Millman had no answer to that force, and Carreno Busta broke a total of three times on the first set

John Millman of Australia returns with forehand to Pablo Carreno Busta of Spain during his ATP Cup match on TuesdayCredit: AP

The Australian No. 2 tried to be more aggressive in the second set, to take more risks and to limit his opponent’s chances to tee off

It worked with limited success but only lasted until game five of the set when Carreno Busta broke the Australian

Carreno Busta looked like he was in the form that took him to two US Open semifinals, while Millman strayed a little from his usual dogged self at his first start to the season

He was made at will by the relentless Spanish No. 3, and the Spaniard comfortably operated the game to give his country the early initiative

Nadal tweeted hours before his match with Alex de Minaur to say he had a stiff back, which gave homeland Australia a boost before clashing with Spain

â ???? Hello everyone, we decided with Team Spain and my team not to play the first game of the ATP Cup here in Melbourne today because I have a stiff lower back. Hopefully I’ll be better on Thursday (against Greece) â ????

Australia will face Greece on Wednesday, led by Stefanos Tsitsipas Spain will face Greece on Thursday

The top team from each group of the ATP Cup reaches the last eight, with the next two best runners-up also entering the next phase of the team tournament

Rafael Nadal, Nadal, Djokovic

World news – AU – Nadal withdraws from the ATP Cup, but Spain rules over Australia

Source: https://www.smh.com.au/sport/tennis/nadal-pulls-out-of-atp-cup-clash-with-de-minaur-due-to-injury-20210202-p56yut.html