Nadal faces Djokovic as Spain clashes with Serbia in ATP Cup final
Rafael Nadal will play Novak Djokovic, as Spain takes on Serbia in the inaugural ATP Cup final in Sydney.
Top-ranked Nadal came from a set down to beat Australia’s Alex de Minaur 4-6 7-5 6-1 and give Spain an unassailable 2-0 lead over the hosts.
World number two Djokovic had earlier beaten US Open finalist Daniil Medvedev 6-1 5-7 6-4 as Serbia beat Russia 3-0.
Djokovic beat Nadal in straight sets in last year’s Australian Open final and leads their head-to-head 28-26.
He has also not lost to Nadal on a hard court since the 2013 US Open final.
The Australian Open – the first Grand Slam of the year – begins on January 20, eight days after the ATP Cup finishes.
Nadal lost his quarter-final singles match to Belgium’s David Goffin and was punished for a slow start by De Minaur, who is at a career-high of 18th in the rankings.
However, as De Minaur tired, Nadal went up a level, racing to a 4-0 lead in the deciding set before serving out victory on his first attempt.
Roberto Bautistua Agut had given Spain a lead in the tie after breezing past Nick Kyrgios 6-1 6-4, before Feliciano Lopez and Pablo Carreno Busta won in the doubles.
“Novak likes to play here and Serbia has a great team and is playing very well,” Nadal said.
“But Roberto played an amazing match and we have a good team, so we are ready for it.”