Great disappointment for Team GB as Canada just pip them for a place in the ATP Cup semi-finals, despite their 2-1 victory over the USA which for a few hours, placed them on top of Group C.
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 Felix Auger Alliasime
However, their place was subject to Germany defeating the Canadians in the last group match which they failed to do allowing the Canadians to leapfrog from the bottom to the top and into the last four in the very tight group where all four teams were in with a chance of making the knockout round.
Again Dan Evans was the lynch-pin of the British team winning his singles and then partnering Jamie Murray to doubles success the pair recovering from a set and a break down to defeat Taylor Fritz and John Isner 6-7(3) 7-5 10-8.
It all looked over when the pair fell behind 4-2 in the second set and unable to repeat their heroics of the opening tie, when the duo grabbed a surprise victory over Germany.
But they broke back immediately and eventually took the second set to level and continue their momentum to hold off a late charge from their opponents.
“We were just hustling. We just kept saying, ‘Just try to get the ball back in play, start the point’, and tried to use our skills after that,” Murray said later.
“We played an amazing point to break back at 4-2, got a bit of momentum and played a great [match] tie-break, which is ultimately what it comes down to so many times.”
Earlier in the afternoon at the Qudos Bank Arena in Sydney, the 31-year-old from Birmingham held his own against the big hitting Isner to provide Britain with the vital opening point but Cameron Norrie however, failed to build on that despite battling strongly against Fritz before going down 7-6(4) 3-6 6-1.
Fortunately the solid doubles partnership secured the overall victory and a few tense hours as they awaited a positive result from the evening session between Germany – whom they beat 2-1 – and Canada – who beat them 1-2 – to confirm their semi-final place.
But once the tie got underway it wasn’t long before they started to realise that fortune was not favouring them as Denis Shapovalov defeated Jan-Lennard Struff 7-6(5) 4-6 6-3 in the first rubber and then Felix Auger-Aliassime overcame a ranking gap of 8 places to defeat the world No.3 Alexander Zverev 6-4 4-6 6-3.
“It feels good to beat Zverev,” Auger-Aliassime said in his on-court interview. “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.”
The Canadians did lose the doubles to finally record a 2-1 win over Germany and relegate them to third place ahead of the USA.
Canada progresses to a semi-final meeting against the defending champions, the Russian Tennis Federation who swept past Italy 2-1 in Group B.
The Russians advanced when Daniil Medvedev and Roman Safiullin beat Matteo Berrettini and Jannik Sinner 7-5 4-6 10-5 in the doubles in a repeat of last year’s final.
They shared the singles points with Sinner defeating Safiullin 7-6(6) 6-3 and Medvedev beating Berrettini 6-2 6-7(5) 6-4.
“The first set I was in control and it’s tricky because you think that things will continue to go your way but that’s not the case when you’re up against a Top 10 player,” Medvedev said.
“I made some bad decisions in the second set, so I tried to learn from that in the third. I served well throughout the match and that helped me.”
Spain and Poland make up the last-four line up having progressed to the knockout stage on Wednesday.