Canada clinched the ATP Cup after winning both singles rubbers in the final against favourites Spain, played out on the Rosewall Arena in Sydney thereby avenging their 2019 Davis Cup final loss in Madrid.
We always kept believing, we are a new nation and even if we didn’t get off to the best start, we kept pushing and fighting and now we are champions Felix Auger Aliassime
Felix Auger-Aliassime settled the title for Canada with a 7-6(3) 6-3 victory over the week’s most consistent player Roberto Bautista Agut to give his country an insurmountable 2-0 lead against the Spaniards following Denis Shapovalov’s initial 6-4 6-3 victory over Pablo Carreno Busta.
Auger-Aliassime and Shapovalov won a deciding doubles against the Russia Tennis Federation in the semi-finals to knock out the defending champions having reached the last four after as surprise winners of Group C.
Two-time finalists Spain, in contrast, had arrived in the final unbeaten in any of their group matches and were clear favourites for the title having won it in 2019.
“The emotions are unbelievable,” Auger-Aliassime said on his team’s achievement. “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.”
On this occasion Denis Shapovalov, the world no.14 who only just recovered in time to participate this week after testing positive for Covid on arrival in Sydney, set the scene for the upset requiring just 98-minutes to take out his opponent with 27 winners and seven aces.
“I am just happy I got to play and to get the win and hopefully Felix can finish the job because there is still a lot of work left,” Shapovalov said of his victroy.
And his teammate didn’t fail him though it took him two-hours and 10-minutes to break down the resistance and defences of Bautista Agut who, in the first set, held ten break points but only converted one and that was in the opening game.
That first set was a battle and crucial in the context of the match and final, wih Bautista Agut moving the Canadian about the court with relative ease but, apart from that opening game, unable to make the important breakthrough.
And in the tie-break he suddenly found himself trailing 1-4 as Auger Aliassime gained control and establish that important psychological advantage.
The second set was equally competitive but the momentum was with the world No.11 who made the crucial break at 4-3 to then go on and serve out for the match and title having produced 37 winners and 15 aces during the close encounter.
“We always kept believing, we are a new nation and even if we didn’t get off to the best start, we kept pushing and fighting and now we are champions” a delighted Auger Aliassime said.
The doubles match was cancelled but the spectators will have gone home satisfied that they had watched two excellent performances from Team Canada.