Photo : @sthlm_open/@Patrickbengtssonfotograf
Something about Sweden works for Denis Shapovalov.
It was a big week for the Canadian contingent in the Swedish capital, but it ended in disappointment at the hands of a neighbour to the south.
Here’s what you need to know:
In case you missed it: Shapovalov narrowly misses title defence
4-3, 15-40, the ball hits the net cord and pops up into the air. If it goes over, Shapovalov has a break in the third set and is serving for his second consecutive title at the Stockholm Open.
Instead, it comes back onto the Canadian’s side. He did not win another point in the match as Tommy Paul finished on a 12-point run to beat the defending champion for the crown in Stockholm.
Last week was Shapovalov’s first title defence, having won the last time the Stockholm Open was held in 2019, and he came painfully close to going back-to-back. Still, it was a strong showing from the Canadian No. 2 who showed off his flashy hitting on his way back to the final, a run that included a gritty three-set quarter-final comeback and a near-perfect performance over a friend in the semis.
Félix Auger-Aliassime also had a great week in the Swedish capital, reaching the semi-finals without dropping a set. It took a flawless performance from his compatriot to deny him of a third final in 2021.
Overall it was a good week for North America as both semi-finals featured national showdowns. Opposite the all-Canadian semi-final was an All-American clash between the eventual champion Paul and the in-form Frances Tiafoe.
It was Paul’s first ATP Tour final and first title.
Canada was also being represented at the WTA Finals by Sharon Fichman, who is competing in doubles alongside Giuliana Olmos.
The pair got off to a rocky start with a loss to top seeds Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova in straight sets. They looked well on their way to levelling their record when they bageled Desirae Krawczyk and Alexa Guarachi in the first set, only to lose 11-9 in the match tiebreak.
Still, winning that opening set kept the team alive as Fichman and Olmos can still advance to the semi-finals with a straight-sets win Monday night and a loss by Krawczyk and Guarachi.
As has become somewhat standard on the WTA Tour, the singles draw did not go at all according to plan, with the bottom three seeds, No. 6 Garbine Muguruza, No. 7 Paula Badosa, and No. 8 Anett Kontaveit, all advancing to the semi-finals, with the bottom two, Badosa and Kontaveit, winning their groups.
Second seed Krejcikova went 0-3, while third seed Karolina Pliskova lost out on sets percentage after tying Kontaveit and Muguruza with a 2-1 record.
The ATP Finals got underway on the weekend and already had one piece of drama, with Matteo Berrettini being forced to pull out in the second set of his match with Alexander Zverev with an injury. He will be replaced by Jannik Sinner.
Defending champion Daniil Medvedev got off to winning start, coming back to beat Hubert Hurkacz in three sets. Novak Djokovic also kicked off his campaign with a win over Casper Ruud.
Despite boasting two major winners in its draw, the Upper Austria Ladies Linz had a surprising finish with Alison Riske claiming the title. Top seed Emma Raducanu was upset in her opening match by Xinyu Wang, while Simona Halep withdrew prior to her semi-final against countrywoman Jaqueline Cristian, who lost to Riske in the final.
What to watch: Tour finals reach their conclusions
The ATP Finals are already underway, but the action will only heat up as the week goes on. The round robin will last until Friday with the top two in each group advancing to the semi-finals.
Djokovic, Medvedev and Zverev, the top three seeds, already have wins under their belts, but there is still plenty of tennis to be played as each of them have two matches to go.
Meanwhile, in an unusual move, the WTA Finals will wrap up mid-week, with the group stage coming to an end on Monday, the semi-finals on Tuesday, and the finals on Wednesday.
Canada’s Sharon Fichman could still advance to the doubles semi-finals with a straight-sets win and some help from the top seeds.
In singles, there will be an all-Spanish semi-final between Badosa and Muguruza, while the red-hot Kontaveit awaits the winner between Aryna Sabalenka and Maria Sakkari on Monday.
Badosa and the 0-2 Iga Swiątek have a meaningless match still to play, as the former has won the group and the latter is already eliminated.
Despite the finals being underway, there are still regular WTA Tour events going on. This week, the Montevideo Open is taking place on clay down in Uruguay.
There is some Canadian content to keep an eye on there, as Billie Jean King Cup team member Carol Zhao is competing in both singles and doubles.
Under the Radar
While the main tours are winding down, there is still plenty of action on the Challenger and ITF circuits this week.
Alexis Galarneau and Steven Diez, who was recently added to Canada’s Davis Cup team presented by Sobeys, are both competing in ATP Challenger events.
There are also a number of Canadians competing in ITF World Tour events around the globe.
You can follow the Canadians in action every week here.