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Pablo Carreno Busta gives Spain a flying start to its ATP Cup semi-final with Poland.

Carreno Busta Puts Spain On Brink Of ATP Cup Final

Bautista Agut can clinch Spain's victory against Hurkacz

Pablo Carreno Busta put Spain on the brink of its second ATP Cup final on Friday evening with a 6-2, 6-1 victory against Poland's Jan Zielinski.

Kamil Majchrzak went 3-0 at No. 2 singles for Poland in Group D action, helping his country make it this far. But the 25-year-old announced earlier Friday he had tested positive for Covid-19, forcing him out of the competition and into health protocols, including isolation.

“When you expect to play against one player and at the last moment they change it, [it is tough]. They were unlucky, so sorry about that,” Carreno Busta said. “But I had to do my tennis, my job and I think that I played really good, [I was] very focussed on my game. It’s important to always be one up [for the team].”

Zielinski stepped in for the biggest match of his life, but he had never previously played a tour-level singles match. The doubles standout was unable to put pressure on Carreno Busta, who remained solid in his 54-minute triumph.

The World No. 20 has been on big stages plenty throughout his career, and that experience showed on Ken Rosewall Arena. Zielinski earned roars from the crowd in the match's final moments with flashy winners, but it was not enough to mount a serious comeback.

Carreno Busta protected his serve — he did not face a break point — to move to 4-0 at this year's event. The former World No. 10 has not lost a set at this year's ATP Cup.

“It’s very important at the beginning of the year always [to find] the rhythm, for the confidence,” Carreno Busta said. “I’m happy about this tournament, I’m playing really good,” Carreno Busta said. “I’m feeling very comfortable here in Australia, in Sydney on this court. I would like to continue this way.”

Roberto Bautista Agut can close out the tie and seal his country's second berth in the ATP Cup final with a win against 2021 Nitto ATP Finals competitor Hubert Hurkacz. In 2020, Spain lost in the championship match in Sydney against Serbia.

“Now we have to continue. We have two more matches,” Carreno Busta said. “Hurkacz against Roberto is a really close match, really tough, so we’ll see. In any case I need to be ready for doubles.”