Sydney : A pair of lucky No.13s in the rankings, Paula Badosa meets Harriet Dart and Carreno Busta faces Daniel Evans, both of whom will try to get Spain back on track against Britain at Ken Rosewall Arena, here on Sunday.
With the unique, all-inclusive format of the United Cup, even a 22-time Grand Slam champion is no guarantee of success for Team Spain as Rafael Nadal fell on Saturday to Cameron Norrie 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 while compatriot Nuria Parrizas Diaz lost to Katie Swan as Britain took a daunting 2-0 lead.
However, things are not over as Badosa and Carreno Busta will carry the flag for Spain on Sunday. Badosa has more motivation for her first United Cup match than most. Her opponent, Dart, upset her 3-6, 4-6 back in November at the Billie Jean King Cup in Glasgow.
“Yeah, I have another opportunity again to play against (Dart). Great Britain is always a tough tie. Yeah, I’m preparing for that match, focus on that. Let’s see how it goes,” Badosa said the other day.
Badosa and Carreno Busta are in precisely the same unenviable spot. Last April, Badosa rose to a career-high No.2. She won Indian Wells in 2021, then reached the quarterfinals at Roland Garros.
Carreno Busta has also visited the Top 10 and was the champion in Montreal last year. At the 2020 Tokyo Olympics (played in 2021), he beat No.1 Novak Djokovic and No.2 Daniil Medvedev on the way to the bronze medal.
Carreno Busta was asked about the quality of Group D, which features Great Britain and the upcoming opponent, Australia. “Is the first tournament of the year. So we need to improve our level. It is always difficult to start the year.
We need the rhythm. But we are a very good team. We have Rafa, we have Paula. We are ready to fight to win the group and we see,” Busta said. Despite the deficit, he and his team, Nadal, ranked No.2 in the ATP Rankings, is enthusiastically embracing the format.
“We are used to playing in the Davis Cup or Fed Cup,” he said before the tournament. “I mean, it’s nothing 100 percent new, but at the same time it’s the first time that we share forces between men, women.
Different story for us. Going to be exciting. I think we can create a good team atmosphere. We know we have a very tough group,” he added.