Canada wins doubles to reach ATP Cup final despite Medvedev’s easy win over Auger-Aliassime

World No 2 Daniil Medvedev won his third singles match in a row but it was not enough to stop the Canadians from reaching their first ATP Cup final where they will meet Spain

Canada's Felix Auger-Aliassime and Denis Shapovalov celebrate winning their semi final doubles match against Russia's Daniil Medvedev and Roman Safiullin at the ATP Cup

Canada are through to the final of the ATP Cup for the first time after their star players Felix Auger-Aliassime combined to beat the Russian duo Daniil Medvedev/ Roman Safiullin and set up a final against Spain.

Earlier in the day, Shapovalov and Medvedev won the singles matches for their respective nations to level the tie at 1-1.

Shapovalov and Auger-Aliassime win doubles in match tiebreaker

In the deciding doubles rubber, Russia got off to the better start with Medevdev/ Safiullin breaking their opponents in the third game and holding their serve throughout to win the first set 6-4.

The second set turned out to be closer with the first 11 games going on serve until Shapovalov/ Auger-Aliassime broke the Russian’s in the 12th game to send the final into a deciding super tiebreaker.

The Canadians built a 6-3 and 9-5 lead in the tiebreaker before Shapovalov clinched the tie with a short volley that the Russians were unable to get to.

Medvedev drops only four games in win over Auger-Aliassime

Russia's Daniil Medvedev reacts during his semi final match against Canada's Felix Auger-Aliassime at the ATP Cup
Russia’s Daniil Medvedev reacts during his semi final match against Canada’s Felix Auger-Aliassime at the ATP Cup Image Credit: AI / Reuters / Panoramic

World No 2 Medvedev played his best tennis of the week on Saturday, as he scored a comprehensive straight-sets win over Felix Auger-Aliassime. The win brought Russia back to 1-1 in the the ATP Cup semi-final against Canada.

With just nine positions separating them in the rankings, the first few games of the match went with serve as ecpected, raising hopes of a close contest. But from 3-4 down, it was all one-way traffic.

Medvedev won the last three games to win the first set 6-4. In the second set, the 21-year-old Auger-Aliassime felt the full impact of the Medvedev wizardry as the Russian broke his opponent all three times and held all his service games to end the match with a 6-4, 6-0 score line in one hour and nine minutes.

The stats summed up the match well with Medvedev making just six unforced errors and not facing a single break point in the entire match.

The Russian is now 3-1 in singles this week (and 3-0 in doubles). After dropping his first match against Frenchman Ugo Humbert, Medvedev has scored wins over Matteo Berrettini, Alex de Minaur and now Auger-Aliassime to cement his status as one of the favourites for the upcoming Australian Open.

Shapovalov digs deep to give Canada 1-0 lead

In the first match of the day, Denis Shapovalov had to dig deep to fend off the challenge of Russian Roman Safiullin to give the Canadians a 1-0 lead.

After winning the first set, Shapovalov found the 167th ranked Safiullin take his game up a few notches. The Russian broke his opponent in the 12th game to level the match.

Safiullin earned his chances in a marathon fourth game in the decider, earning six break points. But Shapovalov saved each one before holding his serve in a 12-minute marathon game.

The Canadian left-hander then broke his opponent in the seventh game and held on to his serve twice to complete the 6-4, 5-7, 6-4 win in over two and 39 minutes.

“Definitely super tough. Obviously Roman is playing with a lot of confidence,” said Shapovalov, who missed Canada’s first tie due a positive COVID-19 test when he arrived in Sydney.. “I’ve known him for a while because the first time I played qualifying of juniors at the Australian Open, Roman was playing the juniors and he won the tournament. He won the Aussie Open, so he’s a guy I’ve looked up to and I’ve always thought he’s got an unbelievable game,” Shapovalov said. “He’s shown this competition that he definitely should be ranked in the Top 100. The way he was playing today, it was Top 10, Top 20 tennis, it was incredible.”

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