ATP Cup 2020: Britain in pole position to qualify for knockouts, could top Group C and face Australia in quarter-final

  • Britain No 1 Dan Evans outclassed Radu Albot 6-2, 6-2 to clinch the fifth-day match after Cameron Norrie beat Alexander Cozbinov by the same score on Tuesday

  • A 6-2, 6-3 doubles victory for Jamie Murray and Joe Salisbury over Albot and Cozbinov completed the 3-0 win over Moldova

  • Britain could top Group C and face Australia in Thursday's first quarterfinal

Sydney: Even without Andy Murray, Britain look likely to advance to the ATP Cup quarterfinals.

Britain No 1 Dan Evans outclassed Radu Albot 6-2, 6-2 to clinch the fifth-day match after Cameron Norrie beat Alexander Cozbinov by the same score on Tuesday.

A 6-2, 6-3 doubles victory for Jamie Murray and Joe Salisbury over Albot and Cozbinov completed the 3-0 win over Moldova, leaving the British in a good position to qualify for the quarterfinals that begin Thursday at Sydney Olympic Park.

 ATP Cup 2020: Britain in pole position to qualify for knockouts, could top Group C and face Australia in quarter-final

Jamie Murray and Joe Salisbury of Britain react during an ATP Cup doubles match between Britain and Belgium. AP

Murray announced late last month that he would not play at the inaugural ATP Cup or the Australian Open due to his continuing recovery from hip surgery.

Britain could top Group C and face Australia in Thursday's first quarterfinal. But the British, captained by Tim Henman, are more likely to advance to the knockout stages as one of the two best pool runners-up at the season-opening 24-team event.

“It would be a lot of fun if that were the case," Henman said of the potential match against Australia. “Obviously I have a lot of history with (Australia captain) Lleyton (Hewitt) and everyone knows the team well. It would be a big challenge, but we would love that opportunity.”

Unbeaten in its first two matches, Bulgaria are the favourites to top Group C and can secure a quarterfinal spot with a win over Belgium on Tuesday night in the second match in Sydney.

Undefeated Australia will complete Group F play on Tuesday night against Greece in Brisbane. Australia said earlier Tuesday it would sit out Alex de Minaur against Greece. De Minaur has won both of his singles matches at the tournament.

John Millman will come into the team for the second time, with Nick Kyrgios returning from a back injury to take on Greek star Stefanos Tsitsipas.

In the opening match Tuesday in Brisbane, Canada beat Germany 2-1 and will hope to advance to the quarterfinals as one of the two best second-place finishers in group play. The Canadians lost to Spain in the Davis Cup final in Madrid seven weeks ago.

Canadian Denis Shapovalov handed No 7-ranked Alexander Zverev his third singles loss of the tournament with a 6-2, 6-2 win over the German player at Pat Rafter Arena. Zverev had seven double-faults in Tuesday's match.

Jan-Lennard Struff beat Felix Auger-Aliassime 6-1, 6-4 to give Germany the early lead. Auger-Aliassime and Shapovalov clinched it for Canada with a 6-3, 7-6 (4) win over Kevin Krawietz and Andreas Mies.

Zverev has 31 double faults in 31 service games in the tournament. He said an off-season exhibition tour in South America with Roger Federer left him behind in his preparations.

“I had like five days less than I normally have ... I didn't practice a lot of tennis," he said. “I think you can see that on the tennis court. There are a lot of things that I still need to improve.”

At Perth, Russia clinched a quarterfinal berth with wins over Norway in both singles and tops Group D. Karen Khachanov beat Norway's Victor Durasovic 6-2, 6-1 in the opening singles match and Daniil Medvedev beat Casper Ruud 6-3, 7-6 (6) on his second match point with an ace.

Italy played the United States in the night match at Perth.

The six group winners and two best second-place finishers advance to the Final Eight in Sydney. Two quarterfinals are set for Thursday and two more on Friday. The semifinals are scheduled for Saturday and the final on Sunday at Ken Rosewall Arena.

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Updated Date: Jan 07, 2020 14:31:55 IST