Shapovalov/Auger-Aliassime take down Germany to stay alive at ATP Cup
Denis Shapovalov is hoping a new year will bring different results against Novak Djokovic as he prepares to match up against the world No. 2 in the ATP Cup quarter-finals on Thursday.
Led by Shapovalov and Felix Auger-Aliassime, Canada reached the quarters as one of two second-place teams across the six groups. Australia claimed the top spot in Group F with a 3-0 record, handing Canada their lone loss.
Now, Canada is taking on top-seeded Serbia, who went 3-0 in Group A, defeating South Africa, France and Chile.
Watch the ATP Cup quarter-final LIVE on TSN4 and TSN Direct at 6 p.m. ET/3 p.m. PT.
Shapovalov went 0-4 against Djokovic during the 2019 season, pushing the 16-time Grand Slam champion to a third set just once - at the Australian Open last January. The 20-year-old went 2-1 in group play, defeating two top-10 opponents in Stefanos Tsitsipas and Alexander Zverev. His lone loss came against Australia's Alex De Minaur who outlasted the 14th ranked Canadian in three sets in a three-hour match.
Shapovalov told the ATP's website that he believes he's elevated his game at the tournament with the support of his teammates.
“I love the team aspect, the team vibe and just getting to bond with other players. It’s so much easier when you have a group of guys like this,” Shapovalov said. “It's not a feeling we get often, that we support each other and we're there on the bench cheering each other on… Tournaments like this are so much fun and I think for the fans it's so much more fun as well, because it gets so loud and they really get more into it. I think it's great for everyone.”
Djokovic moved through the group round with ease, posting a perfect 3-0 record in singles play without dropping a set. He was, however, pushed to tiebreak in both his sets against South Africa's Kevin Anderson in his first match of the tournament.
Auger-Aliassime will face Dusan Lajovic in the opening singles match of the quarter-final, a first career meeting between the two. Auger-Aliassime posted a 1-2 record in singles play during the group round, defeating only Greece's Michail Pervolarakis - ranked 486th in the world - before falling to Australia's John Millman and Germany's Jan-Lennard Struff. The 19-year-old, who is ranked 21st, won a combined 11 games over the four sets in his two losses. Lajovic, ranked 34th, went 2-1 in group play suffering his lone loss to France's Benoit Paire in three sets.
Should the two sides split the two singles matches, the doubles match will serve as a winner-take-all for a spot in the semifinals. Auger-Aliassime and Shapovalov went 2-1 in doubles play during the group round, falling only to Australia in the tiebreak after splitting the first two sets.
Serbia also went 2-1 doubles play during the group round, calling on Djokovic just once, when he teamed up with Viktor Troicki to defeat France's duo of Nicolas Mahut and Edouard Roger-Vasselin in order to secure their second group-round win.
Should the doubles match be needed to decide Thursday's winner, Djokovic and Troicki are expected to square off against Shapovalov and Auger-Aliassime.
The winner of Canada and Serbia's quarter-final will face either Belgium or Spain in semifinals after those two countries meet Friday in Sydney.