The world number one Rafael Nadal defeated Nikoloz Basilashvili 6-3, 7-5 in the group stage B of the ATP Cup 2020.
The 33-year-old native in Mallorca took an hour and 50 minutes to smile a victory smile, in the warm welcome of the fans at the RAC Arena.
Basilashvili unexpectedly won the first game after a volley winner. But in the next game, the Georgia player missed many opportunities and eventually let Nadal win the serve again.
Since then, the active game has completely belonged to the world’s number one player. By the end of the set, Nadal lost only one serve and won another game of helping the ball, before closing the first set.
In the early games of the second set, Nadal remained overwhelming. When the game was only one game away from the end, a surprise happened. Basilashvili miraculously revived when he won two games to block the ball in a row to equalize 5-5.
Adjusting tactics at the right time when dragging the opponent who was sticking the end of the field to the durable balls helped Nadal regain the advantage.
Basilashvili lost the game after a backhand mistake and the Spaniard closed the dramatic set that lasted 68 minutes at a second match-point chance. This is also Nadal’s fourth successive victory over the Georgian player.
Rafael Nadal 2-0 Nikoloz Basilashvili
The 27-year-old Georgian expressed regret for not taking advantage of the serve at 5-5 in a set two. He said: “Overall during the match, my first serve was not good, especially at that time. I was extremely disappointed. I wanted to win the game, but I could not push it because of the injured elbow. Last year it was a bit of an influence on my serves, which made them not at 100% fitness.”
Previously, Nadal teammate Roberto Bautista Agut only needed 72 minutes to win two white sets 6-0, 6-0 against world-class opponent 677 Aleksandre Metreveli. In the final match, the pair of Pablo Carreno Busta – Feliciano Lopez defeated Aleksandre Bakshi – George Tsivadze with a score of 6-3, 6-4, thereby assigning three victories for the Spanish team to Georgia.