Australia ended their ATP Cup campaign on a high with a hard-fought 2-1 win over France.
Luke Saville and John Peers prevailed in an epic encounter over Frenchmen Fabrice Martin and Edouard Roger-Vasselin 6-4, 5-7, 11-9. The Aussie pair stormed home to win the last five points over the match, saving three match points
Despite being in the “Group of Death” Australia managed to walk away with impressive wins over both Italy and France.
In the tie’s first rubber, James Duckworth’s difficult week continued with a disappointing 4-6, 6-7(6) loss to Arthur Rinderknech. Despite having numerous opportunities, Duckworth never managed to break Rinderknech’s serve which ultimately proved costly.
Rinderknech was delighted he was able to notch another win while representing his country.
"It's always an honour to play for your country in such a great event," Rinderknech said in his on-court interview. "I am happy to have won today and I'd like to thank the crowd, even though the majority were against me, for making it such a great atmosphere."
The ‘Never Say Die” attitude of Alex De-Minaur was on full display as he managed to come from behind to level the tie at 1-1. Separated by just one place in the ATP rankings, De Minaur outlasted Frenchman Hugo Humbert 3-6, 7-6(2), 6-1 in just under two and a half hours.
De Minaur was once again thrilled to claim a victory in his hometown.
“This is home, this is where I grew up," De Minaur told said in an on-court interview. "It’s my home tennis centre. Just playing here is electric, the atmosphere is always amazing every time I step out on court. I just tried to stay in there as Ugo was playing some unbelievable tennis. I kept pushing myself and got the crowd going. It’s a special event.”
After withdrawing from next week’s ATP 250 tournament in Sydney, De Minaur’s attention now turns to the Australian Open where he hopes to make a deep run for the first time in his career.
In the night’s other tie, Felix Auger Aliassime and Denis Shapovalov have led Canada to the ATP Cup semi-finals with a thrilling win over Germany at Qudos Bank Arena.
Auger Aliassime sealed the tie for Canada with one of the best wins of his career, defeating German World No. 3 Alexander Zverev 6-4, 4-6, 6-3.
Yet to win a title on the ATP tour, Auger Aliassime showed he is ready to break his duck and win multiple titles in 2022. His big-hitting had Zverev retreating and lost for answers.
Post-match, Aliassime was thrilled to beat an opponent of Zverev’s calibre
“It feels good to beat Zverev,” Auger-Aliassime said. “I played a great match. He is a great player, and he has beaten me a couple of times before, so I am happy I was able to get the job done today, especially for the team.
We started off on a tough day a couple of days ago, so to finish off strong and be through to the semis is special. The atmosphere was great at the end, that is what we play for.”
In the first rubber, Shapovalov managed to notch his first win of the week with a 7-6(5), 4-6, 6-3 victory over big-serving German Jan-Lennard Struff.
An unforced error on set point from Struff gifted Shapovalov the first set tiebreak. Struff was able to put his disappointment behind him to gain an early break of serve in the second set which proved to be the difference. Shapovalov turned it on in the deciding set to give Canada the early lead in the tie.
Struggling after contracting covid-19 in the lead-up to the ATP CUP, Shapovalov was delighted to earn his first win of the season.
“I knew I had to fight every point,” Shapovalov said. “I have had a tough record against Struff, he is a tough player to play and he always brings it against me. I think the level was really, really high so it was a great win to get.”
In the doubles, Germain pair Kevin Krawietz and Tim Puetz scored a consolation 6-3, 6-4 win over Steven Diez and Brayden Schnur.
Canada will now meet Russia in the second semi-final on Saturday.