Sydney, Jan 9 (MNN) Canada clinched the ATP Cup as Felix Auger-Aliassime score a 7-6(3), 6-3 victory against Roberto Bautista Agut to give his country a 2-0 win against Spain here on Sunday evening.
Canada lost its first four matches of this year’s competition and could have been eliminated before playing the third Group C tie. But thanks to favourable results, the Canadians still had a chance and they seized their opportunity.
Auger-Aliassime and Shapovalov won a deciding doubles against Russia on Saturday to knock out the defending champions. And with the trophy on the line, they played their best tennis to defeat two-time finalists Spain.
Auger-Aliassime, who was also his country’s captain, suffered a disappointing defeat at number 1 singles on Saturday against Daniil Medvedev, losing the final nine games of that match.
But the 21-year-old showed no ill effects from that loss, playing with controlled aggression to down the always tough Bautista Agut in two hours and 10 minutes.
Felix double faulted on his first match point. But the Canadian quickly calmed his nerves and elicited a backhand return error on the next point. Shapovalov and the rest of Team Canada quickly rushed the court to celebrate.
Bautista Agut is one of the toughest opponents for everyone on the ATP Tour. The Spaniard is a baseline machine who rarely misses and takes advantage of the smallest openings. But his issue was that Auger-Aliassime never cracked.
In the first-set tie-break, the world number 11 hit a sensational forehand passing shot to earn an early mini-break, and he added another with a big forehand from the middle of the court. The Canadian carried that lead through the rest of the tie-break to seal the opener.
With the trophy drawing closer, Auger-Aliassime maintained his composure. Felix saved 10 of the 11 break points he faced and struck 15 aces in his triumph.
Earlier in the tie, Shapovalov captured the number 2 singles match with a 6-4, 6-3 win against Pablo Carreno Busta, who had led their ATP Head2Head series 4-1.