The Canadian Davis Cup team’s spot in the elite 16-team World Group has been cemented for a seventh consecutive year following Denis Shapovalov’s 6-3, 7-6(1), 6-3 victory over Ramkumar Ramanathan of India on Sunday. The 18-year-old from Richmond Hill, Ont. captured a straight-sets win to secure Canada’s triumph over India in their Davis Cup by BNP Paribas World Group play-off tie at Edmonton’s Northland Coliseum. The final score for the weekend is 3-2 in Canada’s favour following a 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 loss by Canada’s Brayden Schnur to Yuki Bhambri in the last match of the weekend.
Shapovalov, ranked world No. 51, exuded confidence from the beginning of his two hour and five minute battle against Indian No. 1 Ramanathan. A total of 23 of Shapovalov’s 30 winners came on the forehand, while his powerful serve was another impressive point of play, with his fastest serve clocking in at 213 km/h. In his third-ever Davis Cup tie, and first as the team’s No. 1 player, Shapovalov posted a 2-0 record.
“I think this is right up there,” said Shapovalov of where today’s match ranks in his growing list of accomplishments. “I grew up wanting to represent my country and play Davis Cup. To be able to be a part of the team and clinch today is honestly the best feeling. To help my country win this week is a huge honour and for sure I’ll be back for many years to come if I’m invited to play. It’s such a fun event and I love doing it.”
Canada will now compete in the prestigious World Group for a seventh straight year in 2018, a Canadian record, while India will play one level below in the Asia/Oceania Zone Group I. Before 2012, the Canadians had only participated in the highest echelon of Davis Cup twice, in 1991 and 1992. The team’s best result is making the 2013 World Group semifinals.
“It’s an enjoyable one, it’s one of relief,” said Canadian captain Martin Laurendeau of this weekend’s win. “We wanted to avoid dropping down. I mean, it’s really tough, look at the countries that are back in there [in the zonal groups]. Czech Republic, Argentina, there are just so many good teams worldwide. So it was very important for us to take advantage of another relegation match in Canada and make the most of that chance. It was a great team effort, everyone pitched in. Good effort from the guys, and just an overall good feeling.”
In Canada’s first Davis Cup tie in Edmonton in 21 years, total attendance for the three days at Northlands Coliseum totaled 13,159 spectators.
Davis Cup is the largest annual team sport competition in the world, with 134 teams entered in 2017 and only the Top 16 competing in the elite World Group. Canada will learn its first-round opponent for next year’s Davis Cup competition on Wednesday when the International Tennis Federation conducts the 2018 draw.
Davis Cup World Group Play-offs
Canada vs. India
September 15-17, 2017
Northlands Coliseum, Edmonton
Canada wins 3-2
|Friday, Sept. 15||First Singles Rubber||Ramanathan d. Schnur 5-7, 7-6(4), 7-5, 7-5|
|Friday, Sept. 15||Second Singles Rubber||Shapovalov d. Bhambri 7-6(2), 6-4, 6-7(6), 4-6, 6-1|
|Saturday, Sept. 16||Doubles Rubber||Nestor/Pospisil d. Bopanna/Raja 7-5, 7-5, 5-7, 6-3|
|Sunday, Sept. 17||Third Singles Rubber||Shapovalov d. Ramanathan 6-3, 7-6(1), 6-3|
|Sunday, Sept. 17||Fourth Singles Rubber||Bhambri d. Schnur 6-4, 4-6, 6-4|