France, Japan start with wins at ATP Cup
MERCURIAL duo Gael Monfils and Benoit Paire have given France the best possible start to the ATP Cup, winning their singles matches to claim the tie over Chile in Brisbane.
World No.10 Monfils, widely regarded as one of the most talented players on tour not to have won a major, had too much in the stretch for top Chilean Cristian Garin, prevailing 6-3 7-5.
Earlier on Saturday, Paire had to come back from a set down to beat Nicolas Jarry 6-7 (7-3) 6-3 6-3.
It was a much more competitive affair than the tie in Perth, where Uruguay's Cuevas brothers were humiliated by the Japanese.
Martin Cuevas, ranked No.523 in the world, was expected to present little opposition for No.121 Go Soeda and that proved the case with a 6-1 6-3 scoreline in favour of the Japanese.
But eyebrows were raised over the performance of Pablo Cuevas, who offered no resistance in a 6-0 6-1 beating at the hands of Yoshihito Nishioka.
Ranked No.45 in the world, Cuevas looked lethargic despite the relatively mild temperature and was dispatched in just 54 minutes by a player ranked 28 spots below him.
Japan are missing former US Open finalist Kei Nishikori, who is out for the summer with an elbow injury.
In Sydney, the tie between Argentina and Poland will go down to the doubles after the singles matches were split.
Guido Pella put for the Argentines one up, the world No.25 registering a 6-2 2-6 6-2 win over Kamil Majchrzak.
But top-rated Argentine Diego Schwartzman couldn't back up after a strong first set, going down to Hubert Hurkacz, 4-6 6-2 6-3.
Argentina are without Juan Martin del Potro, who hasn't played since sustaining a knee injury at Queens last June and has been ruled out of the Australian Open.