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Home   News   Canada defeats Germany as Shapo, Félix clinch doubles

Canada defeats Germany as Shapo, Félix clinch doubles

Jan 06, 2020
written by: Tennis Canada
written by: Tennis Canada

Canada secured second place in Group F of the ATP Cup following an inspired come-from-behind win over Germany. After Félix Auger-Aliassime dropped the opening rubber in a tricky clash with Jan-Lennard Struff, Denis Shapovalov was able to level proceedings with a masterclass against German No. 1 Alexander Zverev.

Combining forces for Canada in the deciding doubles, Auger-Aliassime and Shapovalov were able to overcome reigning French Open doubles champions Kevin Krawietz and Andreas Mies.

Photo: ATP Tour/ATP Cup

Entering day five, Canada had already swept aside Greece 3-0 in their first tie and lost 3-0 to Australia on day three. Their opponents, meanwhile, had also lost to Australia 3-0 and overcome Greece 2-1 meaning that, in terms of results thus far, the two sides were fairly evenly matched.

The first tie featured a first-ever encounter between the teams’ No. 2 players, but it was Struff who made the better start as he broke Auger-Aliassime in just the third game of the match. On the second of two break points, the Canadian hit a backhand long and wide ensuring his opponent took advantage of the situation. Auger-Aliassime was struggling to find his rhythm and dropped his serve again as Struff strolled to a 6-1 victory in the first set.

At the start of the second set, the German– ranked 14 places behind Auger-Aliassime on the ATP Tour – ripped a powerful, cross-court backhand on his second break point of the third game to take an early lead. From there on in, Struff didn’t look back as he held his serve to see out the second set 6-4.

 

Playing to keep Canada’s hopes of reaching the knock-out stages in Sydney, Shapovalov got off to a sprint from the very start as he broke the former World No. 3 in the very first game. Zverev, who has been struggling with his serve so far in 2020, donated several points throughout the first set courtesy of shaky double faults. Striking winner after winner, the first set was quickly his after 36 minutes.

And the second set was more of the same.

Shapovalov, who came into the match with a 1-2 record against Zverev, raced out to a lightning quick 3-0 lead, summoning his shotmaking best to push his 22-year-old opponent around the court and finish point off with elegance at the net. Zverev would settle, ultimately getting on the board in the fifth game after threatening to break in the fourth. From there, however, the Canadian’s serve would reach another gear as aces flowed off his racquet until the match was finally over – a straight-sets 6-2, 6-2 masterclass over one of the biggest young stars in the game.

Doubles would ultimately be decisive for Canada – a loss would relegate them to third in Group F with no chance of reaching the quarter-finals in Sydney, while a win would keep them in the hunt for the coveted bonus qualification places pending results from tomorrow’s action.

It was under this immense pressure that Auger-Aliassime and Shapovalov, amicably nicknamed ‘Team Shauger,’ would play their best match as a team.

They brought energy and exceptional all-court skills to a difficult match-up against the seasoned duo of Krawietz/Mies. After claiming the first set 6-3, the second set was a tighter affair. Mies demonstrated world-class reaction volleys as the Canadian youngsters kept Team Germany on their toes. Ultimately racing out to a 6-1 lead in the second-set tiebreak, Shapovalov would double fault on the first match point on his serve before – what else – slamming down an ace to win it for Canada.

(Feature photo: ATP Cup/ATP Tour)