By Alessandro Mastroluca

  • Great Britain thrashed Moldova 3-0 and moved to the quarter-finals as the group winner after Belgium sealed a 2-1 victory over Bulgaria
  • In the quarter-finals, the British team will meet Australia, the host nation, unbeaten in the round-robin stage
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – Great Britain will meet the host nation in the ATP Cup quarter-finals. Norrie is meant to face Nick Kyrgios, Dan Evans should play Alex De Minaur.

 

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Great Britain finished as the top-ranked team in Group C after a sound 3-0 victory over Moldova in the final tie of the round-robin stage. In the quarter-finals, they will meet Australia on Ken Rosewall Arena in Sydney. The encounter will start on Thursday at 10 am, local time (Wednesday at 23:00, GMT).

Great Britain beat Moldova 3-0

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Knowing a defeat would mean an almost certain elimination, Cameron Norrie thrashed Alexander Cozbinov 6-2 6-2 in 71 minutes winning 84% of his service points.

Dan Evans, poised to make his Top 40 debut next week, produced another stunning performance and dismiss Radu Albot by the same score. He collected a third straight victory against the highest-ranked Moldovan player ever since his loss in the Delray Beach Open final last February when he missed three championship points before double-faulting on the last point of the match.

Jamie Murray and Joe Salisbury ended the triumph sealing the second of their three doubles matches in Sydney. They closed out the tie, and the round-robin stage, with a 6-2, 6-2 victory against Albot and Cozbinov.

 

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Cameron Norrie v Nick Kyrgios | H2H: Norrie leads 1-0

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Norrie is meant to open the quarter-final against Nick Kyrgios. It won’t be an easy match for the British No.2, who looked disappointed with his performance against the Belgian Steve Darcis. However, he had another opportunity to shine, thanks to the round-robin format.

It won’t be an easy match for the left-hander. When he plays for a team, the Australian’s motivations become stronger than his own fears to fail. He offers a committed, efficient version of himself and shows the kind of player he could be. However, it testifies why he will never become that kind of player.

Kyrgios looked untouchable in his singles matches in the ATP Cup. Facing his friend Stefanos Tsitsipas, he never lost his serve throughout the whole encounter. In the third-set tiebreak, the Acapulco and Washington defending champion mixed flashy forehands and deft drop-shots, before blitzing a backhand return winner on match point.

The Brit beat the unpredictable Aussie, currently ranked 23 places higher than him, in their only previous meeting in 2018, as Kyrgios retired trailing 7-5 3-0 at the Atlanta Open quarter-finals. The scenario will likely be different, unfortunately for the Johannesburg-born lefty.

Prediction: Kyrgios in straight sets

 

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Dan Evans v Alex De Minaur | H2H: 1-1 at all levels

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Evans, the indisputable man of the match against Belgium when he managed to beat David Goffin in a dominant manner, should face Alex De Minaur. The Australian No.1 suffered an abdominal strain on Monday so consequently John Millman played as the No.2 singles player and Kyrgios filled in for “Demon”.

However, Australia had already sealed a berth in the quarter-finals, and the World No.18 will have a couple of days to recover and De Minaur is likely to be on court to open the knockout stages for his nation.

Evans beat the NextGen ATP Finals runner-up in Montreal last summer in their only previous tour-level match. The Sydney-born youngster, however, had prevailed in the Nottingham Challenger final in 2018.

The Australian enlivened the crowd coming back from a set and a break down to defeat Denis Shapovalov and Alexander Zverev in two of the most intriguing clashes of the competition so far.

His victory in the battle of 20-year-old #NextGenATP stars against the Canadian put the host country in Final Eight qualification position, feeling very proud of his attitude, as reported by the ATP.

“I managed to turn things around, get back into a positive mindset, get my energy back. I think it’s all energy. It’s good that in the back of my head I know that all the hard work I’ve put in in the pre-season, so I know that my body’s ready to keep on going for however long it takes.”

De Minaur looked incredibly quick in turning defence into offence, often using a single ground-stroke to regain control of the rally. The British No.1 can bring flair and an unorthodox shot-making, but he needs to avoid any lapses in concentration to beat him.

Prediction: De Minaur in three sets

 

READ MORE | Great Britain beat Belgium and keep their hopes alive

 

Doubles: Jamie Murray/Joe Salisbury v Chris Guccione/John Peers (players subject to change)

If Evans or Norrie should manage to turn the tables and force the tie to the decisive doubles rubber, Salisbury and Murray would predictably face Chris Guccione and John Peers, who won his first six doubles titles partnering Murray. One or two points could decide such a match, so the British duo will be required to play the perfect match to seal the victory.

Play is due to begin at 10am (11pm GMT).

 

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