SYDNEY – World number one Rafa Nadal overcame a temporary blip on his way to victory at the ATP Cup on Saturday, shortly after Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic survived a tough battle against fit-again South African Kevin Anderson.
The $15 million ATP Cup, which features 24 nations competing in Perth, Brisbane and Sydney over 10 days, is a solid platform for the world's top players to prepare for this month's Australian Open, which starts in Melbourne from Jan. 20.
Nadal was broken in his first service game but found his groove immediately to break back and another break of Georgian Nikoloz Basilashvili's serve was enough for him to win the opening set.
He broke his opponent twice to jump to a 5-2 lead in the second but faced two consecutive breaks on his own serve that levelled the set at 5-5. Nadal then broke again and held on to seal the tie for his team with a 6-3 7-5 victory in Perth.
Djokovic, who defeated Nadal in last year's Australian Open men's singles final for a record seventh title at Melbourne Park, had to dig deep in his 7-6(5) 7-6(6) win over Anderson and win the tie for Serbia in Brisbane.