The tennis season is back into play, and the first couple of events are taking place in Australia. The event to start the new year was none other than the ATP Cup, which consists of 16 teams squaring off against each other. Team Canada has been led by the two young guns in Denis Shapovalov and Felix Auger-Aliassime. In 2020, they made the quarterfinals, but just last night, they clinched a spot in the semi-finals.
A not-so-smooth start
Team Canada had a bit of a rocky start in the Group Stage against Team USA. After stating that he wasn’t quite ready to play after isolating due to COVID-19, Denis Shapovalov was replaced by Brayden Schnur against John Isner. Isner quickly took care of business, taking the match 6-1, 6-3. He was coming to the net and serving big against the Canadian, who provided a bit of a spark at the beginning of the second set but was ultimately unable to perform a comeback against the American.
Felix Auger-Aliassime tried to even the field against Taylor Fritz but fell in three sets after winning the first one in a tiebreak. The FAA/Shapovalov duo would also fall to Fritz/Isner in doubles later that night.
On their way
FAA knocked off a win against Cam Norrie and the doubles duo were able to get a win against the Brits. Finally, two clutch wins in singles against the Germans was the deciding factor in placing the Canadians in the semi-finals.
The first was Denis Shapovalov, who faced Jan-Lennard Struff for the eighth time in his young career. It was a very close first set, but the Canadian was able to close it out before dropping the second and taking the match 7-6, 4-6, 6-3.
Up next was Felix-Auger Aliassime’s win against Alex Zverev. As seen in the rally above, Auger-Aliassime maintained a lot of discipline during this match, taking his time and being patient with his shot selection. Auger-Aliassime also won points on 75% of his first serves, which was crucial in the 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 win.
It’s going to take hitting big shots and patience for Canada to continue to succeed at this tournament. They have already improved on their quarter-final results from 2020 and have the chance to make it all the way to the end. It won’t be easy, as they will most likely be facing Russia, and they have one of the best players in the world in Daniil Medvedev. Nevertheless, Canadian tennis is off to a motivating start in 2022.