– Shapovalov levels score with huge five-set win after Schnur falls in opener
– Daniel Nestor and Vasek Pospisil to take the court in doubles on Saturday
– Tickets still available for purchase via Ticketmaster; Matches will be broadcast on Sportsnet One and TVA
The Canadian Davis Cup team is tied 1-1 with India after the opening day of competition at the Davis Cup by BNP Paribas World Group play-off tie at Northlands Coliseum in Edmonton. Canada’s No. 2 singles player Brayden Schnur (Pickering, Ont.) fell 5-7, 7-6(4), 7-5, 7-5 in the first rubber to Indian No. 1 Ramkumar Ramanathan, before Canada’s top player Denis Shapovalov defeated Indian No. 2 Yuki Bhambri 7-6(2), 6-4, 6-7(6), 4-6, 6-1.
Ramanathan dispatched Schnur in three hours and 16 minutes, and recorded 20 aces to Schnur’s 14. While the 22-year-old Canadian captured the first set in his first-ever Davis Cup match, Schnur struggled to capitalize on his break point opportunities, only converting 3 of 18 chances. However, he remained optimistic following his first career five-set match, and first tie representing the Canadian flag.
“I’m playing in Edmonton, playing in Canada, my home country. I had the crowd behind me,” Schnur reflected on his Davis Cup debut. “We have a great team, and I think we’re going to pull this tie out. I just told myself I was going to go out there and embrace it and that I was going to beat this guy, but came up short today. Credit to him – he played well.”
Shapovalov came out strong to start the second rubber of the day, taking a two-set lead however Bhambri swung back and took the next two. The marathon three hour and 52 minute-match was finally decided when Shapovalov captured two breaks in the fifth set to secure the win. The 18-year-old rising Canadian talent registered 19 aces during his first career five set match, with his fastest serve of the evening clocking in at 219 km/h.
“I haven’t played too many Davis Cup ties so it’s all pretty fresh for me,” Shapovalov said following his first match as Canada’s No. 1 Davis Cup player. “Obviously the pressure’s different, playing for your country in a team atmosphere. For me, it’s fun to be in these positions. I’m learning every day and getting new experiences. I think we have a really good chance in the doubles. Vasek and Daniel are a lethal combo, they’ve done so well together so I really believe that they can win tomorrow.”
Saturday at a glance
With the tie now even at one match apiece, Saturday’s doubles match will be critical for both teams. Veteran doubles player Daniel Nestor and Vasek Pospisil are set to team up for the 1 p.m. MT duel with Nestor making his 51st Davis Cup appearance for Canada, while Pospisil is set to play his 15th tie. The pair hold a 5-4 record when playing together in doubles on the Davis Cup stage. They prepare to face another experienced duo in India’s Rohan Bopanna, currently competing in his 14th year of Davis Cup competition, and Purav Raja. Indian captain Mahesh Bhupathi announced on Thursday ahead of the draw ceremony that Raja would replace Saketh Myneni for the tie. Team captains have up until one hour before the match to change their nominations.
|Doubles Ranking||No. 43||No. 111||No. 19||No. 56|
|Davis Cup doubles record||32-11||7-5||8-6||1-0|
Order of play overview
Davis Cup World Group Play-offs
Canada vs. India
September 15-17, 2017
Northlands Coliseum, Edmonton
|Friday, September 15||First Singles Rubber||Ramanathan d. Schnur 5-7, 7-6(4), 7-5, 7-5|
|Friday, September 15||Second Singles Rubber||Shapovalov d. Bhambri 7-6(2), 6-4, 6-7(6), 4-6, 6-1|
|Saturday, September 16||Doubles Rubber||Nestor/Pospisil vs. Bopanna/Raja|
|Sunday, September 17||Third Singles Rubber||Shapovalov vs. Ramanathan|
|Sunday, September 17||Fourth Singles Rubber||Schnur vs. Bhambri|
Davis Cup is the largest annual team competition in the world, with 134 teams entered in 2017. The winner of this weekend’s tie will compete in the elite World Group for 2018, while the losing nation will be relegated to their respective zonal group. Canada is aiming to make the upper echelon of Davis Cup play for the seventh straight year.
Tickets are still available for purchase for the remaining days of the tie and start as low as $25. They are available online at Ticketmaster, or in person at the box office at Northlands Coliseum.
All matches will be broadcast on Sportsnet and TVA Sports. Please check local listings for the full schedule.