There was not a single hero for Team Argentina on Saturday at the ATP Cup. Instead, it was a team effort that saw the Argentines battle past Poland 2-1 at Ken Rosewall Arena in Sydney.
Maximo Gonzalez and Andres Molteni found their best form to defeat former doubles World No. 1 Lukasz Kubot and Poland's No. 1 singles player, Hubert Hurkacz, 6-2, 6-4 in a deciding doubles rubber to clinch the tie.
"We had the responsibility to go and to give the point to Argentina, and hopefully we [would] play good and we [would] get the point," Molteni said. "So it was really exciting and we are really happy now [about] playing well and giving the point to Argentina."
Match Point: Argentina Clinches Victory Over Poland
Argentina's No. 2 singles player, Guido Pella, gave his country the advantage to start the day with a 6-2, 2-6, 6-2 win against Pole Kamil Majchrzak.
Pella finished 2019 with a career-best 36 tour-level wins after a campaign in which he won his first ATP Tour title and completed the year as the No. 2 Argentine for the first time. Based on his performance in his first match of 2020, the lefty appears primed to maintain that momentum. The World No. 25 broke serve five times in his two-hour, four-minute triumph.
"I'm pretty happy overall. First of all, because I think I played a very good match in the first and third set. In the second, I was feeling a little bit tired because of the heat," Pella said. "But I think I served very good in the third set, and I fought for every ball. That's my game. So I felt very, very good on court."
Highlights: Pella Opens His Season With Majchrzak Victory
The 29-year-old had plenty of support from the crowd inside Ken Rosewall Arena. After shaking hands and heading back to celebrate with his countrymen in their Team Zone, fans chanted, "Ole, ole, ole! Guido! Guido!"
"I didn't know that Sydney has so many Argentines, so it was a big shock for me," Pella said. "It was almost full, the stadium. They were cheering for me, so it was a very nice atmosphere for the first tournament of the year."
Both players struggled landing their first serves in their first match of the season, with each man making less than 50 per cent of his first deliveries. That led to many baseline battles, with Pella trying to dictate play with his heavy forehand and Majchrzak trying to avoid being put on the back foot.
It was Pella who was the more solid player under pressure, and he broke for the second time in the decider to finish off Majchrzak, with the Pole missing a curling forehand approach shot just long.
Highlights: Hurkacz Battles Past Schwartzman
Hurkacz then evened the tie by defeating World No. 14 Diego Schwartzman 4-6, 6-2, 6-3 in two hours and 18 minutes.
The World No. 37 first broke onto the scene in 2018, earning a spot at the Next Gen ATP Finals. And last year, he took his level even higher, winning his first ATP Tour title in Winston-Salem to become just the second Polish singles champion in the Open Era (Wojtek Fibak). He climbed as high as No. 33 in the FedEx ATP Rankings.
Hot Shot: Must-See Tennis! Schwartzman & Hurkacz Leave It All On The Court
In his first meeting against Schwartzman, Hurkacz showed he could potentially soar even higher. After Schwartzman rode the cheers of the Argentines in the crowd to an early lead, Hurkacz buckled down on serve. The Pole was broken in his first service game, but then held serve the next 13 times behind 18 aces en route to his triumph.
However, Schwartzman made Hurkacz work hard for his victory, forcing the Pole to put forth a special effort before he returned to the court for doubles. Hurkacz was unable to finish off the double-duty triumph.