Stefenos Tsitsipas of Greece watches teammate Aristotelis Thanos prepare to play against Poland's Hubert Hurkacz during their match at the ATP Cup tennis tournament in Sydney, Saturday, Jan. 1, 2022. (AP Photo/Steve Christo)
SYDNEY (AP) — Greece badly missed Stefanos Tsitsipas in the singles when it was beaten by Poland on the opening day of the 16-team ATP Cup tournament on Saturday.
The fourth-ranked Tsitsipas had to withdraw with an elbow problem ahead of his match with ninth-ranked Hubert Hurkacz, who went on to beat replacement Aristotelis Thanos 6-1, 6-2 to give Poland an unassailable 2-0 lead after Kamil Majchrzak had defeated Michail Pervolarakis 6-1, 6-4 earlier.
Stefenos Tsitsipas plays a shot in his doubles match with Michail Pervolarakis of Greece against Poland's Hubert Hurkacz and Jan Zielinski of Poland during their match at the ATP Cup tennis tournament in Sydney, Saturday, Jan. 1, 2022. (AP Photo/Steve Christo)
Tsitsipas watched from the team bench, with ice wrapped around his right elbow, as the 1,076th-ranked Thanos was outclassed by Hurkacz.
Greece then gained some consolation when Tsitsipas combined with Pervolarakis in the doubles to overcome Szymon Walkow and Jan Zielinski 6-4, 5-7, 10-8.
Tsitsipas had an operation in late November, with a flare-up a concern ahead of this month’s Australian Open.
“The recovery from my elbow surgery is on track and today was a precautionary step to make sure I make Melbourne,” Tsitsipas said. “We will see day-by-day, match-by-match until then.”
Argentina’s Diego Schwartzman and Spain’s Roberto Bautista Agut led their respective teams to comfortable victories earlier on Saturday.
Argentina beat Georgia 3-0, while Spain easily accounted for Chile by the same margin at the tournament being played across two Sydney stadiums.
The 13th-ranked Schwartzman defeated Georgia’s Nikoloz Basilashvili 6-1, 6-2, after compatriot Federico Delbonis won by the same score against Aleksandre Metreveli to give
Argentina a 2-0 lead from the singles matches.
Maximo Gonzalez and Andres Molteni then gave the Argentines a clean sweep defeating Georgian pair Saba Pertseladze and Zura Tkemaladze 6-1, 6-2 in the doubles tie to give Argentina a 3-0 win.
Pablo Carreno Busta gave Spain an early lead as he rallied from being a break down in both sets to defeat Chile’s Alejandro Tabilo 6-4, 7-6 (7-4).
Roberto Bautista Agut appeared in excellent form as he disposed of Chile’s Cristian Garin 6-0, 6-3 to seal the tie for Spain.
Alejandro Davidovich Fokina and Pedro Martinez clinched a clean sweep for Spain with a 7-6 (3), 4-6, 10-7 win over Chile’s Tomas Barrios Vera and Tabilo.
Captain of Greece Apostlolos Tsitsipas, center, Stefanos Tsitsipas, left, and Michail Pervolarakis react in the match between Aristotelis Thanos of Greece and Hubert Hurkacz of Poland after their match at the ATP Cup tennis tournament in Sydney, Saturday, Jan. 1, 2022. (AP Photo/Steve Christo)