Canada has won their first-ever ATP Cup, defeating Spain 2-0 on Ken Roswell Arena.
Young guns Denis Shapovalov and Felix Auger-Aliassime showed the world that they are no longer the next-gen, they are ready to mix it with the best.
Auger-Aliassime showed remarkable resilience to put yesterday’s disappointing loss to Danil Medvedev behind him to lead Canada to a memorable victory.
Despite being ranked No. 14 in the world, Auger-Aliassime had never won a title (individual or team) or even a set in a final. Auger-Aliassime ended his unwanted streak when he won a marathon one hour and 26 minutes first set tiebreak over veteran Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut.
In a see-sawing first set which saw three consecutive breaks of serve, Auger-Aliassime showed his class, winning the tie break 7-3. In the crucial 8th game of the set, Auger-Aliassime saved five break points to ensure Bautista Agut didn’t have the chance to serve for the set.
The second set was more straightforward as Auger-Aliassime ran away with the match and sealed the tie for Canada with a 7-6(3), 6-3 win.
Post-match, Auger-Aliassime was pleased he was able to raise his game on the big points.
“Sometimes it’s a bit of luck and today also I was good in the important moments, so that’s always important,” Augier-Aliassime said post-match.
“Just tried to stay positive, also. I think compared to other matches this week, I think I stayed very composed, very positive through all the ups and downs of the match and I think that’s why I had the energy the finish strong.”
After sealing the tie, Auger-Aliassime expressed his delight at being part of Team Canada.
“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,” Auger-Aliassime said.
“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 practice, ready to support us.”
In the tie’s first Rubber, Denis Shapovalov handed Pablo Carreno Busta his first loss of the ATP Cup with a 6-3, 6-4 victory to get Canada off to the perfect start.
In a marathon first game, Shapovalov saved six break points to eventually hold serve after 14 minutes. Carreno Busta was unable to hold serve in the 10th game of the first set, handing Shapovalov the all-important first set.
In the second set, Shapovalov went on a ten-point winning streak to race to an early 3-1 lead. From there he was able to hold his nerve and close out the match in what was a clinical performance.
"(I had) a little bit of nerves going out. Obviously, I’ve got a tough record against Carreno Busta, so I knew it was going to be a tough match," Shapovalov said post-match.
"(I was) just mishitting a little bit at the beginning (given) the moment and everything, but just tried to buckle down, do the best I can to win that game and get into the match. I felt much more comfortable after that first hold."
Spain’s record in ATP Cup finals now stands at 1-1. With tremendous depth in Spanish tennis at the moment, including 19-year-old rising star Carlos Alcaraz, it would be a brave person to bet against Spain reaching a third final at the ATP Cup in 2023.
For Canada’s young guns, they will now want to ensure they carry their momentum with them for the rest of the season, starting with next week’s Australian Open.