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Canada sails into ATP Cup semis as Auger-Aliassime beats Zverev

Felix Auger-Aliassime.
Felix Auger-Aliassime. Photo: ATP

Sydney, Jan 6 (MNN) Felix Auger-Aliassime beat world number 3 Alexander Zverev 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 to earn the first Top 5 win of his career and fire Canada into the semi-finals of the ATP Cup here on Thursday.

Following Great Britain’s 2-1 triumph against the United States earlier on at Qudos Bank Arena, Canada knew victory against Germany would seal a semi-final spot.

With the pressure on, Felix Auger-Aliassime backed up Denis Shapovalov’s victory over Jan-Lennard Struff by showing great resilience against Zverev in a statement win. With his victory, Canada has clinched the Group C tie 2-1 and will play reigning champion Russia on Saturday in Sydney.

In an entertaining match, the 21-year-old recovered from squandering four break points at 3-3 in the second set, hitting with great power and depth in the third set to triumph after two hours and 32 minutes.

The world number 12 — who kept Canada’s ATP Cup bid alive with his singles victory against Cameron Norrie on Tuesday — was strong on serve throughout, winning 76 per cent (41/54) of points behind his first delivery.

The 21-year-old Felix maintained a high and consistent level in a tense deciding set, breaking in the seventh game as he reduced his ATP Head2Head series deficit to 2-4 against the German.

It is the first time Canada has reached the last four at the 16-team event. In the other semi-finals, Poland will play Spain on Friday.

Earlier, Shapovalov boosted Canada’s ATP Cup semi-final hopes, overcoming Struff 7-6(5), 4-6, 6-3.

Shapovalov, who is making his third ATP Cup appearance, gave Canada the perfect start as he bounced back from his singles defeat against Daniel Evans by dictating with his explosive groundstrokes against Struff. Shapovalov fired 41 winners to seal his win after two hours and 34 minutes.

In a high-quality match, Shapovalov and Struff went toe-to-toe in brutal, heavy-hitting baseline exchanges. However, it was the World No. 14 who raised his level in the third set, saving all four break points he faced in the decider to give Canada the advantage. With victory, the 22-year-old has reduced his ATP Head2Head series deficit against the German to 3-5.

In the final match of the day, Kevin Krawietz and Tim Puetz downed Steven Diez and Brayden Schnur 6-3, 6-4 in 71 minutes to earn one win for Germany in the tie.

ATP Cup format sees the No. 2 singles played first, followed by the number 1 singles and the doubles. Doubles uses no-ad scoring and a Match Tie-break in place of a third set.

Each country plays three matches in group play from 1-6 January across Ken Rosewall Arena and Qudos Bank Arena at Sydney Olympic Park. One team emerges from each of the four groups to contest the two semi-finals, which will be split over January 7 and 8, with the final on January 9.

Kenin beats Tomljanovic, sets up Barty clash in Adelaide International quarter-finals

Russia beat Italy to secure semis berth in ATP Cup

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