SYDNEY (Reuters) – Denis Shapovalov won the battle of aspiring fighters against Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas to win the Canadian ATP Cup men's opening game in Brisbane on Friday.
Canada's Denis Shapovalov during his group F solo game against Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas REUTERS / Tracey Nearmy
The young left-hander (20) gave Canada a 7-6 (6) 7-6 (4) draw in the Patrick Rafter Arena.
Canada took the lead 1-0 when Felix Auger-Aliassime won 6-1 to 6-3 against Mikhail Pervolarakis. The first $ 15 million ATP Cup win was won in 24 nations in Perth, Brisbane and Sydney over 10 days.
The participating teams for the event were determined based on the individual ranking of their best player. Six of the world's top seven players have come to Australia, apart from Swiss Roger Federer.
However, the event did not get off to a good start as the organizers played a false national anthem for Moldova before the tie against Belgium in Sydney.
The second largest Belgian single player and captain Steve Darcis won the rubber with a 6-4 6-7 (4) 7-5 win over Alexander Cozbinov before eleventh world champion David Goffin decided the draw in favor of the team by beating Radu Albot with 6 -4 defeated 6-1.
"At the start of the Moldova vs Belgium game, we mistakenly played the wrong national anthem for Moldova," said the organizers on the official Twitter handle for the ATP Cup. "We are sincerely sorry and we personally apologized to the Moldova team."
The 21-year-old Tsitsipas was considered the favorite in the game against Shapovalov after defeating Roger Federer and Dominic Thiem and winning the ATP final in November.
But Shapovalov, who played brilliantly to lead Canada to its first Davis Cup final in November, when Rafa Nadal's Spain finally came, was the better player on the big points against the Greek.
After more than two hours of power-hitting two of the most exciting next-generation ATP players in a match that did not break serve, Shapovalov changed his first match point when Tsitsipas made a double mistake on his serve.
"It is definitely a big win for me," said Shapovalov in a court interview. "Obviously he had an incredible end of the season and is definitely one of the best players in the world. He has a great game.
"It's really special for me to beat a guy like that in the first game of the year. It means a lot.
"I think it was just a few points here and there today, I was just trying to continue my game, continue to play every single point and wait for my chances, and I just think I have really good chances in the draw have used. "
Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly in Mumbai; Edited by Michael Perry