Canada scrapes into ATP Cup final

CANADA has claimed the narrowest of victories over Russia to secure its place in the 2022 ATP Cup final. The Top 20 duo of Felix Auger-Aliassime and Denis Shapovalov were able to overcome Russian world number two Daniil Medvedev and Roman Safiullin in the deciding doubles match. It was even throughout the day, with Medvedev on fire, and the Canadians needing to do everything they could to quell him. Even going a set down in the doubles, they managed to force it into a decider and eventually got up in that decider to take out the crown.

Starting off the day, Shapovalov had a fight on his hands against the in-form Safiullin. Despite the Russian being ranked outside the Top 100, Safiullin has punched above his weight this week and continued to do so against the highly-fancied Shapovalov. The Canadian won the first set 6-4, but then the Russian hit back to level the match with a second set win of 7-5. Closing out the match in the deciding third set, Shapovalov managed to grab a crucial break that was ultimately the difference, to salute in three sets, 6-4 5-7 6-4.

Shapovalov served 13 aces to Safiullin’s five, but also produced eight doubles faults to four. In a battle of consistent serves, both players won more than 70 per cent of both their first and second serve points off 65 per cent or more clips. Just five points separated the players in the game with Shapovalov closing it out with his second break of the match.

The second singles match was far more one-sided as Medvedev completely dismantled Auger-Aliassime in a dominant straight sets win. The Russian world number two won 6-4 6-0, coming from 3-4 down to win the last nine games of the match. Medvedev never faced a break point, whilst breaking Auger-Aliassime four consecutive times from seven chances. He won 89 and 80 per cent of his first and second serve points off a 66 per cent clip, whilst Auger-Aliassime was 66 and 36 per cent off a 67 per cent clip.

The win sent it to a deciding doubles, and Medvedev continued that form with Safiullin, claiming the first set of the doubles 6-4. The Canadian young guns won the second set 7-5 to force it into a deciding tiebreak. The third set tiebreak was just as tight and symbolic of the overall match, with Shapovalov and Auger-Aliassime eventually winning 10-7. In the earlier two sets both doubles pairings broke once, with Canada claiming the victory 4-6 7-5 10-7.

Canada takes on Spain in the 2022 ATP Cup final tonight.

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