RUSSIA and Canada survived the last day of the group stage to post 2-1 wins over their respective opponents and set up a mouth-watering semi-finals clash tomorrow. In a day that would ultimately decide the final standings, only France did not come away with a group win throughout the three rounds, indicating the closeness of the groups.
Canada (2) defeated Germany (1)
After Great Britain won earlier in the day, Canada needed a victory to secure the group stage. If Germany won, then Great Britain would advance through to the semi-finals after all four sides – with the United States – having a win after the first two rounds.
Up first was a couple of big servers in Canadian Top 20 talent Denis Shapovalov and German Jan-Lennard Struff. With the Canadian heavily favourited, it would be who could seemingly break their opponent the easiest. If the first set was anything to go by, they would not. It went all the way to a tiebreaker before Shapovalov managed to scrape home 7-5. A break in the second set to Struff was all the German needed to level the match, before Shapovalov’s sole break in the atch came in the third set, where he was able to secure the deciding set, and the match, 7-6 4-6 6-3. He won 71 and 76 per cent of his first and second serve points, higher than that of Struff’s 72 and 64 per cent, whilst also serving nine aces to four.
The win was important given Canadian team captain Felix Auger-Aliassime was playing Olympic Gold Medallist Alexander Zverev. Auger-Aliassime showed he was up for the fight against the world number three though, serving seven aces to five and winning 75 and 50 per cent of his first and second serve points against Zverev’s 63 per cent on both counts. Zverev had fought back to win the second set 6-4, before Auger-Aliassime took a crucial break in the deciding set to close it out in three sets at Qudos Bank Arena, 6-4 4-6 6-3. In the end, the Canadian broke four times to two and won four more points than his opponent in order to solidify the victory.
With the tie done and dusted, Canada did not worry about putting the singles pair together, instead added in their two other group members in Brayden Schnur and Steven Diez. Coming up against Top 20 specialist doubles pairing Kevin Krawietz and Tim Puetz it was always only going to go one way, with the Germans winning 6-3 6-4. They broke three times to one during the match and won 73 and 83 per cent of their first and second serve points off an 80 per cent clip with five aces. It mattered little though, given Canada had already secured the semi-final spot.
IN OTHER RESULTS …
Russia locked up the remaining semi-final result with a 2-1 victory over Italy. Despite facing three first set points. Jannik Sinner overcame an in-form Roman Safiullin to win 7-6 6-3 and give Italy the upper hand. Daniil Medvedev had a similarly challenging battle in the final two sets after racing through the first 6-2, as Matteo Berrettini claimed the second in a tiebreaker. Neither player gave an inch, but in the end the Russian world number two got up to win 6-2 6-7 6-4. All four players hit the court again in the doubles match, with the Russians surviving in a triller, 5-7 6-4 10-5 to book their semi-final spot.
Earlier in the day, Great Britain defeated the United States, effectively knocking Germany out of contention. Had it been the other way around, then Canada would have been knocked out and the United States advanced unless Germany won. In the clash, Daniel Evans continued his great singles form at the tournament with another win, this time over John Isner, 6-4 7-6. The Americans levelled the match courtesy of Taylor Fritz who won in a tight three-set match over Cameron Norrie, running away with it in the deciding set, 7-6 3-6 6-1. Evans and Jamie Murray then teamed up to win in the tightest clash of the day, defeating Isner and Fritz, 6-7 7-5 10-8.
In the remaining match of day six, Australia secured second spot in Group B with a win over the winless France. It did not start too well for the home side, with Arthur Rinderknech defeating James Duckworth in straight sets, 6-4 7-6, and Ugo Humbert going a set up against Alex de Minaur. The Aussies fought back though, as de Minaur won the second set in a tiebreaker then stormed to victory in the final set with a 3-6 7-6 6-1 victory. Australia’s doubles pair of John Peers and Luke Saville looked like easy winners early on, dominating the opening set before French duo Fabrice Martin and Edouard Roger-Vasselin hit back. The match ended up going to a nail-biter before the Australians emerged victorious, 6-2 5-7 11-9.