Sydney, Jan 8 (MNN) Canada entered its first ATP Cup final here on Saturday as Felix Auger-Aliassime and Denis Shapovalov defeated Daniil Medvedev and Roman Safiullin 4-6, 7-5, 10-7 to complete their country’s 2-1 win against Russia.
Two-time finalist Spain awaits Canada in Sunday’s championship tie.
The Canadians lost their first four matches of the competition, putting their hopes of qualifying for the knockout rounds in deep trouble.
If the US had beaten Great Britain in the Match Tie-break of their deciding doubles on Thursday, Canada would have been eliminated before playing their third match.
But Auger-Aliassime and Shapovalov took full advantage of opportunities in Sydney. Their excitement for the moment showed after Shapovalov poached to hit a winning short backhand volley on match point. The long-time friends leapt into each other’s arms to celebrate.
Despite some scratchy baseline mistakes in his singles match, which carried into the doubles, Auger-Aliassime carved a stunning backhand drop volley at 6/5 in the Match Tie-Break. The world number 11 double-faulted on his first match point at 9/6 and missed his first serve at 9/7, but they battled through after one hour and 38 minutes.
Shapovalov got the tie off to a good start for Canada when he clawed past Safiullin in a two-hour, 39-minute thriller at number 2 singles. Medvedev then levelled the tie with a comprehensive victory against Auger-Aliassime at number 1 singles.
Auger-Aliassime and Shapovalov are 1-1 on the week as a team, including a deciding doubles victory against doubles standouts Jamie Murray and Joe Salisbury in group play.
Medvedev and Safiullin had been 3-0 in doubles this week. Russia went 3-0 as a team in Group B action, but fell just a few points short of returning to the final.