Stefanos Tsitsipas still ‘in a little bit of pain’, but ‘heading towards the right direction’

Stefanos Tsitsipas warms up

Stefanos Tsitsipas battled through his first major test at the ATP Cup in Sydney on Monday and he hopes the match will give him a big fitness boost ahead of the Australian Open.

The world No 4 noted some pain during his 6-7 (5-7), 6-3, 6-3 defeat to Diego Schwartzman in his first singles match since withdrawing from last year’s ATP Tour finals and undergoing elbow surgery.

His defeat, despite leading by a set and a break, hastened a 3-0 loss for Greece against Argentina and while Tsitsipas is unsure about competing in his next match on Wednesday, he is more positive about his Australian Open chances from January 17.

The two-time Melbourne semi-finalist told the official tournament website: “It was good to see myself perform at such a level. I didn’t expect it.

“It worked out better than I thought. I was able to hit balls that I was scared to hit two weeks ago, so I’m heading towards the right direction.

“It gets better and better every single day almost. We have plenty of time before the Australian Open begins, and I think if I take the right precautions and follow what my doctor says, then I can see myself performing at 100 per cent at the Australian Open.”

He added: “I’m in a little bit of pain. That’s normal. I served more serves than I have ever served in the last month.

“There was fatigue at the end, but, you know, I tried to avoid the pain.”

Federico Delbonis beat Michail Pervolarakis, while Maximo Gonzalez and Andres Molteni beat Markos Kalovelonis and Petros Tsitsipas as Argentina set up a Group D decider against Poland on Wednesday.

The Poles overcame Georgia 3-0 after Hubert Hurkacz avoided a major upset against world number 571 Aleksandre Metreveli, a replacement for Georgian number one Nikoloz Basilashvili, rallying for a 6-7 (5-7), 6-3, 6-1 win.

Kamil Majchrzak beat Alex Bakshi while Szymon Walkow and Jan Zielinski paired to see off Bakshi and Zura Tkemaladze in the dead doubles rubber.

Roberto Bautista Agut plays a shot

Roberto Bautista Agut sunk Norway’s Casper Ruud (Steve Christo/AP)

Spain made it two wins out of two in Group A as they swept Norway aside 3-0, with Roberto Bautista Agut sealing victory with a 6-4, 7-6 (7-4) win over Norwegian number one Casper Ruud.

Pablo Carreno Busta got Spain off to a winning start by beating world No 345 Viktor Durasovic, before Alejandro Davidovich Fokina and Pedro Martinez saw off Lukas Hellum-Lilleengen and Andreja Petrovic in the doubles.

Chile edged past Serbia 2-1 after Tomas Barrios Vera and Alejandro Tabilo squeezed out Nikola Cacic and Matej Sabanov 6-4, 3-6, 10-7 in the decisive doubles rubber.

Filip Krajinovic had given Serbia a winning start with victory over Tabilo, but Dusan Lajovic was forced to withdraw injured when he trailed Chilean number one Cristian Garin 4-6, 6-4, 3-0 in the second doubles clash.