The ATP Cup out on Rod Laver Arena has kicked off in style. The event might not have the pulling power for fans this year than it did last year but the passion, grit and determination was there for all to see on Day 1.
Novak Djokovic extended his winning running to 10-0 in ATP Cup and 7-0 in the singles following a 7-5 7-5 win over Denis Shapovalov who will be thinking once again, what if? A win for Raonic meant a decisive doubles match was needed but Djokovic and Krajinovic stole the show in a dominant win for the defending champions.
The story of the day was not here but Team Italy’s massive win over Team Austria including Matteo Berrettini’s 6-2 6-4 win over Dominic Thiem.
Matteo did not take long to break serve at all, he did it in the fifth game of the match and the signs were worrying to Thiem. As bad as the Austrian was I thought the intensity from Berrettini was absolutely spot on and went for it which was the right thing to do. Matteo has beaten Dominic before but this felt like a big stepping stone to begin his season and kick on with some momentum after his ATP Finals debut in 2019.
From 3-2 up he raced to take the set 6-2 against the Austrian and his all round game was exceptionally sharp against the reigning US Open champion.
The good form continued at the beginning of the second set for the Italian. He answered questions into his backhand introducing more slice and picked his time to hit the two hander well and with depth and accuracy. The court coverage from Matteo was exceptional and forced himself to slice and push the ball and close at the net to lead 3-0.
Dominic did climb back into the set recovering one of the breaks of serve but on the second couldn’t find a way back into the match to force a third. Thiem had chances at 30-15 and deuce but a backhand into the net sealed a big 6-2 6-4 win for Matteo Berrettini and Italy.