Germany and Canada square Group C ledger

REMARKABLY, the evenness in Group C was on show following the second round of the ATP Cup’s round robin stage. Following the United States’ first round win over Canada and Great Britain’s victory over Germany, it was the losers that stood tall in the reverse matchups. Germany triumphed over the United States, and Canada got the job done over Great Britain, both in 2-1 results to hand each of the four sides a win apiece heading into the final round robin matches. Meanwhile, Russia put itself in the box seat to advance with a win over Australia, as Italy took out France.

Germany (2) defeated United States (1)

In our featured match, we take a look at the battle between the predominant big servers, with three of the four singles players more than capable of racking up the aces. Coming off differing results in the first round, Jan-Lennard Struff took on John Isner, with the crowd no doubt expecting to settle in for a long match. Both were among the biggest serves on Tour, and equally struggled to break opponents at the best of times. The match went all the way in a three-set thriller before Struff emerged victorious, 7-6 4-6 7-5. The pair combined for a whopping 52 aces (34-18 Isner’s way), and true to form, were only able to break each other once. The first set tiebreaker went to 9-7 before Struff pulled through, and the German’s last break in the deciding set saw him home.

The win gave a massive boost to Germany, with world number three Alexander Zverev favoured to take down the in-form Taylor Fritz. Though only serving the eight aces, the Top 5 star did enough when presented with rare chances, breaking both times from his only opportunities. Fritz on the other hand could not break from his four chances, going down 6-4 6-4. Zverev won an elite 87 per cent of his points off his second serve compared to Fritz’s low 44 per cent, the key difference in the match.

With the tie done and dusted the United States opted for the odd choice of putting Fritz and Isner in the doubles together. Coming up against Top 20 German doubles pair Kevin Krawietz and Tim Puetz, no one gave the Americans much chance. What they witnessed over the first 45 minutes was nothing short of stunning. Isner and Fritz won the first nine games of the match to go 6-0 3-0 up, and whilst Krawietz and Puetz managed to get on the board finally, it was too little, too late. The Americans trumped 6-0 6-3, leaving everyone gobsmacked. It could be an important match win given the evenness of the group.


The other Group C result that turned the tables on the round one winner and loser was Canada bouncing back from a sweeping loss to the United States, by defeating Great Britain. It did not look to be going that way when the in-form Daniel Evans upset Denis Shapovalov in straight sets to give Great Britain the lead. Felix Auger-Aliassime bounced back against world number 13 Cameron Norrie in a close one, winning 7-6 6-3 with the first set tiebreaker going 7-4. With the match on the line, both sides put out their best doubles pairing with Auger-Aliassime and Shapovalov having to do double duty against specialist doubles pairing Joe Salisbury and Jamie Murray. The Canadian due got the crucial break in the first set, then ran away with it in the second set to claim a 6-4 6-1 victory and level the group up.

Over in Group B, the battle of the first round winners resulted in Russia getting up over Australia. Returning to the fold after missing the first match, James Duckworth took on Roman Safiullin who was coming off a first round win. That form helped the world number 167 cause another upset, claiming victory over Duckworth in a tight one, 7-6 6-4, with the first set tiebreaker going to 8-6. That all but stamped the papers for Australia, with world number two Daniil Medvedev far too good for first round hero Alex de Minaur, winning comfortably 6-4 6-2. Then remarkably despite going 4-1 up in the first set and having the momentum rolling into the third set decider, John Peers and Luke Saville had a shock loss to Medvedev and Safiullin, with the Russians getting up 7-6 3-6 10-6.

In the other match, Italy knocked out France to pick up its first win of the tournament, bouncing back from the first round loss to Australia. Despite both matches going to tiebreaks, Jannik Sinner and Matteo Berrettini were able to clean up the Frenchmen comfortably. Sinner toppled Arthur Rinderknech 6-3 7-6, before Berrettini got up over Ugo Humbert – after the Frenchman shocked Medvedev last round – 6-4 7-6. Keeping the momentum going, Berrettini and Sinner faced Fabrice Martin and Edouard Roger-Vasselin. The Italians had to fight tooth-and-nail throughout an epic contest, but the traditionally singles-based players got up, 6-3 6-7 10-8 to complete the sweep and keep their hopes of advancing alive.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments