Australia vs Greece ATP Cup Preview and Tips

andrew hendrie:

Australia will be out to make it three wins from three - and perhaps nine rubbers from nine - when they take on Greece in the ATP Cup in Brisbane on Tuesday night.

Australia vs Greece ATP Cup tennis is live from Brisbane at 5.30pm local time on Tuesday (7.30am GMT).

Australia have already topped Group F and ensured their place in the ATP Cup quarter-finals, but they will be determined to extend their winning momentum against a Greek side who are still mathematically in with a chance of reaching the last eight (but realistically, their hopes are slim at best).

Alex de Minaur vs Stefanos Tsitsipas is undoubtedly the match to watch out for in this tie, with the Aussie staging two sensational comebacks to score top 15 wins over Alexander Zverev and Denis Shapovalov – can he make it three against the reigning ATP Finals champion?

Group F

Previous results

Day 1

Canada ?? def. Greece ?? 3-0

Auger-Aliassime def. Pervolarakis 6-1 6-3
Shapovalov def. Tsitsipas 7-6(6) 7-6(4)
Auger-Aliassime/Shapovalov def. Pervolarakis/P. Tsitsipas 6-2 6-3

Australia ?? def. Germany ?? 3-0

Kyrgios def. Struff 6-4 7-6(4)
De Minaur def. Zverev 4-6 7-6(3) 6-2
Peers/Guccione def. Krawietz/Mies 6-3 6-4

Day 3

Germany ?? def. Greece ?? 2-1

Struff def. Pervolarakis 6-4 6-1
Tsitsipas def. Zverev 6-1 6-4
Krawietz/Mies def. Pervolarakis/S. Tsitsipas 3-6 6-3 17-15

Australia ?? def. Canada ?? 3-0

Millman def. Auger-Aliassime 6-4 6-2
De Minaur def. Shapovalov 6-7(6) 6-4 6-2
Peers/Guccione def. Auger-Aliassime/Shamasdin 3-6 7-6(3) 10-8

Teams

AUSTRALIA ??: 1. Alex de Minaur 2. Nick Kyrgios 3. John Millman 4. John Peers 5. Chris Guccione. Captain: Lleyton Hewitt.

GREECE ??: 1. Stefanos Tsitsipas 2. Michail Pervolarakis 3. Markos Kalovelonis 4. Petros Tsitsipas 5. Alexandros Skorilas. Captain: Apostolos Tsitsipas.

Rubber 1: Nick Kyrgios (??) vs Michail Pervolarakis (??), live from Brisbane at 5.30pm local time (7.30am GMT)

After beating Jan-Lennard Struff in straight sets to help Australia post a 3-0 win over Germany in their opening ATP Cup encounter, Kyrgios missed his nation’s equally as dominant 3-0 victory over Canada on Sunday due to a back complaint.

However, the nature of the injury doesn’t seem to be too serious – Kyrgios was in Australia’s team zone for the entire tie, laughing and celebrating, while captain Lleyton Hewitt said it was more of a precaution than anything, with Brisbane native John Millman subbing in and producing a great performance to conquer Felix Auger-Aliassime in straight sets.

I wouldn’t be surprised if Millman played this match as well – Kyrgios, although usually motivated for team competitions, wouldn’t want to risk any possible aggravation of his back problem against the World No. 486, especially with Australia already booking their spot in the quarter-finals.

The hosts need a fit and firing Kyrgios if they are to do damage in the knockout stages and potentially challenge for the title, so it would make sense for Millman to once again sub in as his replacement.

Pervolarakis has played above his ranking in his first two matches, but as expected, he doesn’t have the consistency to play at this level at this stage of his career, and that’s resulted in two one-sided defeats to Struff and Auger-Aliassime.

Rubber 2: Alex de Minaur (??) vs Stefanos Tsitsipas (??), live from Brisbane around 7.00pm local time (9.00am GMT)

This could potentially be the best match of the ATP Cup group stages, with Tsitsipas looking to register his fourth straight win over the Australian.

However, de Minaur has taken his game to another level over the last six months or so and comes into this clash blazing with confidence after two magnificent victories over Alexander Zverev and Denis Shapovalov.

The 20-year-old came back from a set and a break down in both matches to emerge triumphant, showcasing his already-trademark never-say-die attitude, which is reminiscent to that of captain and mentor Lleyton Hewitt.

Alex de Minaur (PA Images)

“I managed to turn things around, get back into a positive mindset, get my energy back,” De Minaur said after beating Shapovalov. “I think it’s all energy. It’s good that in the back of my head I know that all the hard work I’ve put in in the pre-season, so I know that my body’s ready to keep on going for however long it takes.”

De Minaur was without a win over a top 20 player before September, but that all changed as he beat Kei Nishikori to make the fourth round of the U.S. Open, while he also upstaged Roberto Bautista Agut and Borna Coric en route to his third title of the season in Zhuhai, along with posting wins over Shapovalov and David Goffin at the Davis Cup Finals in Madrid.

It’s clear de Minaur has beefed up his game – his serve and groundstrokes are noticeably more powerful – and I think he could be ready to make a push towards the top 10 in 2020. But can he match it with the World No. 7 on Tuesday?

Tsitsipas has been solid in his first competitive matches since winning the biggest title of his career at the ATP Finals in London to close 2019, losing in two tiebreaks to Shapovalov before crushing Zverev for the loss of just five games on Sunday.

Although Zverev was struggling significantly on serve, Tsitsipas played an excellent match from his side of the court, repeatedly dictating baseline exchanges with some dynamic shotmaking off both wings, while he was also dominant behind his own delivery, winning 24 of 29 first serve points.

Stefanos Tsitsipas (PA Images)

Tsitsipas returned for the doubles alongside Pervolarakis, but they couldn’t convert six match points in a dramatic match tiebreak, eventually going down 17-15 and giving them an almost-impossible task to qualify for the quarter-finals.

“I’m proud of my singles. Doubles went good as well. I’m very proud of myself the way I played and at the same time I feel disappointed. I came so close and, obviously, we’re not the favourites, but we could have been the ones that made the surprise today and we didn’t, which is such a shame,” Tsitsipas said.

“It was nuts. People loved it. We got a lot of support, more than them, and that’s what makes it more terrible.”

As mentioned, Tsitsipas has won all three of their previous meetings, although one of them was at the 2018 Next Gen ATP Finals, where the scoring system is shortened to first to four in a set. Playing at home and in his current form, de Minaur is an excellent chance to claim his first win over the Greek, but in saying that, I don’t think Tsitsipas will give up a lead like Zverev and Shapovalov did. De Minaur needs to start better if he is to make it three top 15 scalps to start the season.

Rubber 3: Doubles, live from Brisbane around 9.00pm local time (11.00am GMT)

Teams to be confirmed

Chris Guccione, who is back playing his first matches in over three years, and John Peers have won their first two doubles matches for Australia and will be retained for this rubber, while Greece may decide to give one of their other players a run if they are out of contention to qualify for the quarter-finals.