Stefanos Tsitsipas showed little sign of the elbow problem that forced him out of his ATP Cup singles opener but he failed to find a way past Diego Schwartzman as the Argentine won an epic battle 6-7(5) 6-3 6-3 on Monday to lead his team to a 3-0 win over Greece.
Tsitsipas, who had surgery in November and missed Saturday’s meeting with Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz before playing the doubles rubber, took advantage of Schwartzman’s misfiring serve to gain the early advantage at the Ken Rosewell Arena.
He grabbed an early break in the second set but lost his way thereafter as Schwartzman clawed his way back and levelled the contest before fending off a late comeback attempt while up 4-2 in the decider to help Argentina stay unbeaten in Group D.
“I was just trying to think that it was his first match for two months after his elbow injury, so I was thinking just to try and be in the match,” Schwartzman said.
“I had the chance and I think I was ready. I’m very happy because playing against Stefanos and being a set-and-a-break down is not easy, but I found a way.”
Federico Delbonis overcame Michail Pervolarakis 7-6(5) 6-1 earlier to put the South Americans in control before Andres Molteni and Maximo Gonzalez battled past Petros Tsitsipas and Markos Kalovelonis 6-3 4-6 11-9 in the doubles to seal an emphatic 3-0 win.
In Group A, former winners Serbia failed to make their advantage count after clinching the opening singles rubber, going down 2-1 to Chile.
Filip Krajinovic put them ahead with a hard-fought 6-4 3-6 7-6(5) win over Alejandro Tabilo but Chile levelled the tie through Cristian Garin, who was leading 4-6 6-4 3-0 against Dusan Lajovic when the Serbian number two was forced to retire with cramps.
“We played an amazing match and I feel sorry for Dusan,” said Garin. “It was so tough. I was going point-by-point in the second set and I’m so grateful to the Chilean support in the crowd.”
Chile completed the comeback when Tabilo and Marcelo Tomas Barrios Vera held their nerve to grind out a 6-4 3-6 10-7 win over Matej Sabanov and Nikola Cacic. They take on Norway on Wednesday.
Earlier, Spain’s Roberto Bautista Agut beat world number eight Casper Ruud 6-4 7-6(4) in Group A to eliminate Norway, while Georgia were also knocked out after losing to Poland.
Bautista Agut’s victory came after Pablo Carreno Busta dispatched Viktor Durasovic 6-3 6-3 to give Spain a 1-0 lead in the tie. The Spaniards face Serbia in their last group match on Wednesday.
“I’m really happy. Casper is playing unbelievable tennis. He had unbelievable performances last year,” said Bautista Agut, the world number 19.
“Today I played really well, I made very few unforced errors and played aggressively… I feel happy, I like playing in Australia.”
Spain’s doubles pairing of Alejandro Davidovich Fokina and Pedro Martinez ensured a clean sweep with a 6-4 6-1 win over Andreja Petrovic and Lukas Hellum Lilleengen.
Kamil Majchrzak put Poland ahead with a 6-1 6-1 win over Georgia’s Alexsandre Bakshi in Group D before Hurkacz rallied to beat Aleksandre Metreveli 6-7(5) 6-3 6-1.
Szymon Walkow and Jan Zielinski then beat Aleksandre Bakshi and Zura Tkemaladze 6-7(2) 6-2 10-6 to complete a 3-0 victory for Poland, who can reach the semi-finals if they get past Argentina on Wednesday.