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Nadal faces Djokovic as Spain clashes with Serbia in ATP Cup final

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Rafael Nadal of Spain hits a return against Alex de Minaur of Australia during their men’s singles semi-final match at the ATP Cup tennis tournament in Sydney on January 11, 2020. William WEST / AFP

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.

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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.”


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