Canada gets revenge over Spain in ATP Cup

CANADA’s rising stars have taken the world by storm over the past couple of years, and now they have some silverware to go with it. After going down to Spain in the 2019 Davis Cup Final, the North American nation has achieved some retribution with the 2022 ATP Cup title. Though there was no Rafael Nadal in this matchup, Felix Auger-Aliassime was able to turn the tables on Roberto Bautista Agut, sealing the result.

Back in 2019 playing as the second singles player, Auger-Aliassime lost to Bautista Agut in straight sets 7-6 6-3. Fast forward just over two years, and the scoreline was the same. Except this time, Auger-Aliassime was on the winning side. It marked a terrific carnival for the Top 20 hope bar his forgettable loss to Daniil Medvedev in the semi-final. Denis Shapovalov – who also played in the Davis Cup Final loss going down to Nadal 6-3 7-6 – proved to good for Pablo Carreno Busta, winning the first match of the night, 6-4 6-3. The result meant there was no need for a doubles, and Canada would take home the ATP Cup title.

“The emotions are unbelievable. There’s no better feeling than winning. We left everything out there. We came back from far in this competition, losing our first four matches. But we never stopped believing,” captain Auger-Aliassime said post-match. “I think that’s very important. “We trust each other to the highest level. Denis and I, everybody in the team — Brayden [Schnur] played in singles, Steven [Diez] played in doubles and they’ve been supporting us all week. They’ve got a tournament next week, but they’re here every day ready to practise, ready to support us.

“All their egos are aside and we really trusted each other along the way and it came down to the perfect result. I’m super thrilled for everybody in the whole team and myself, of course.”

Auger-Aliassime had to dig deep against a consistent Bautista-Agut who was yet to lose a game all tournament. The counter puncher had overcome Top 10 talent Hubert Hurkacz through perseverance, but the young Canadian was able to save 10 of the 11 break points on his serve and produce 15 aces at the same time.

““I think the points just come and you try to really dig deep, think about the good things and think how you’re going to win that point. Just on and on and on, I was able to do it every time,” Auger-Aliassime said. “Sometimes it’s a bit of luck and today also I was good in the important moments, so that’s always important. Just tried to stay positive, also.”

Meanwhile Shapovalov was the more comfortable of the two, despite trailing Carreno Busta 1-4 in their previous head-to-heads. With Auger-Aliasisme not able to contain world number two Medvedev, it was Shapovalov’s win over the in-form Roman Safiullin that helped Canada qualify for the final.

“Couldn’t have wished for a better start. If it wasn’t for Denis the past two days, we wouldn’t be here right now,” Auger-Aliassime said. “I’d like to congratulate him. He’s been unbelievable.

“He lost the past few times against Carreno and today he won in straight sets. “Not with ease, but the way he can play he won in a good way, so honestly all credit to him.”

All four players will prepare for a huge Australian Open campaign where three of the four will be seeded.

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