Very spe­cial

Muscat Daily - - SPORTS -

Sydney, Aus­tralia - A bat­tling Nick Kyr­gios earned a morale-boost­ing vic­tory over world No 6 Ste­fanos Tsit­si­pas on Tues­day, while Rus­sia and Bri­tain booked their spots in the ATP Cup quar­ter­fi­nals.

Tsit­si­pas was on a roll af­ter thrash­ing Alexan­der Zverev on Mon­day, but met his match in the tem­per­a­men­tal Aus­tralian, who was on his best be­hav­iour dur­ing the high-qual­ity 7-6 (9-7), 6-7 (3-7), 7-6 (7-5) win.

"It was ex­haust­ing but a lot of fun. I knew it was go­ing to be very tough ... he's an amaz­ing player and so young and is go­ing to do some spe­cial things in this sport," said Kyr­gios, who missed his last match with a sore back.

"I'm just glad we got the win. There was a lot of re­spect out there. He's a good player, a good kid."

Aus­tralia took the tie, with John Mill­man win­ning the other sin­gles against Greece's Michail Per­volarakis 4-6, 6-1, 7-6 (7-1).

In con­trast, Zverev cut a mis­er­able fig­ure af­ter he meekly suc­cumbed to an­other de­feat, with the world No 7 hav­ing some se­ri­ous prob­lems to iron out ahead of the Aus­tralian Open this month.

"Gen­er­ally I'm not play­ing good, so there's a lot of things that I still need to im­prove, but it's the start of the sea­son," said the Ger­man af­ter crash­ing to Canada's Denis Shapo­valov 6-2, 6-2.

His poor form con­trib­uted to the Boris Becker-led Ger­many los­ing two of their three ties.

Aus­tralia, along with No­vak Djokovic's Ser­bia, had al­ready qual­i­fied for the last-eight in the 24-na­tion tour­na­ment as win­ners of their re­spec­tive groups and they were joined by Rus­sia, with Bri­tain also sneak­ing in.

The Bri­tish were on ten­ter­hooks, with their fate in the hands of Bel­gium and Bul­garia af­ter they beat Moldova 3-0. Bel­gium ended up crush­ing the dreams of Grigor Dim­itrov's Bul­garia in a de­cid­ing dou­bles clash and in do­ing so al­lowed Bri­tain to win the group.

It was a cruel end for Dim­itrov and his young team. They looked on track af­ter Dim­i­tar Kuz­manov thrashed Steve Dar­cis in the open­ing sin­gles and Dim­itrov took the first set in his show­down with DavidGof­fin. But Gof­fin bounced back to win with Sander Gille and Jo­ran Vliegen clinch­ing the dou­bles af­ter beat­ing Dim­itrov and Kuz­manov 3-6, 6-4, 10-7.

Bri­tain put them­selves in con­tention by thrash­ing Moldova, with Dan Evans crush­ing Radu Al­bot and Cameron Nor­rie eas­ing past Alexan­der Cozbi­nov be­fore Jamie Mur­ray and Joe Sal­is­bury won the dou­bles.

World No 5 Daniil Medvedev steered Rus­sia to vic­tory, end­ing Nor­we­gian Casper Ruud's giant-killing run with a 6-3, 7-6 (8-6) win. World No 17 Karen Khachanov eas­ily beat Vik­tor Duraso­vic 6-2, 6-1 in the other sin­gles be­fore Rus­sia made it 3-0 in the dou­bles.

Nick Kyr­gios

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