Djokovic wins thriller over Shapovalov to send Serbia to the ATP Cup semi-finals
SYDNEY, Australia — Denis Shapovalov pushed world No. 2 Novak Djokovic to the limit but lost 4-6, 6-1, 7-6 (4) on Friday as Canada was eliminated by Serbia from the ATP Cup's quarterfinal.
Shapovalov, ranked No. 14 in the world, had lost all four of his previous meetings with Djokovic.
Earlier, Montreal's Felix Auger-Aliassime fell to Dusan Lajovic 6-4, 6-2 in the first match the quarterfinal.
The two singles losses guaranteed Canada's elimination, but the two countries still played a doubles match with Serbia's Nikola Cacic and Viktor Troicki topping Peter Polansky of Thornhill, Ont., and Adil Shamasdin of Pickering, Ont., 6-3, 6-2.
Belgium played Spain in Friday's other quarterfinal.
Host Australia advanced with a 2-1 win over Britain and Russia routed Argentina 3-0 in Thursday's quarterfinals.
The semifinals are set for Saturday and the final on Sunday.
Shapovalov pushed Djokovic to triple deuce in the first set, then dropped a clever volley during a lengthy rally to take a 5-4 lead. The young Canadian continued to push the pace on the next point, winning the set when Djokovic's return went into the net.
Djokovic shifted the momentum in the second set, with the pro-Serbian crowd getting behind him. With Djokovic leading 3-1, chair umpire Carlos Bernardes had to warn the crowd to be quiet.
After Djokovic took a 4-1 lead in the second set, Bernardes warned Canadian captain Peter Polansky that Shapovalov was not to directly address rowdy fans after the 20-year-old from Richmond Hill, Ont., took issue with how some spectators had spoken to him.
Three points later, Bernardes lectured the crowd about their behaviour.
"The most important thing between all of us is respect," he said over the public address system. "If you don't want to watch tennis just go home. Don't disturb the people who are here to watch tennis."
Djokovic continued to roll through the second set, with Shapovalov requiring a medical timeout afterward.
There was a delay in the 10th game of the third set when a spectator needed medical attention from paramedics and Djokovic, despite being down 0-30 while serving for the match, took a bottle of water over toward the stadium seating and asked the crowd to pass it along.
He got back level at 30-30 in that game before Shapovalov broke to level the set at 5-5.
The Canadian saved a breakpoint in the next game but after it went to a tiebreaker following 2 1/2 hours, Djokovic seized control by winning the first five points and then finished off a comeback
Earlier Friday, aside from a brief 2-1 lead in the second set, Auger-Aliassime struggled against Lajovic.
Auger-Aliassime's return was just past the baseline for the match point, with Lajovic pumping his fist as the ball landed out of bounds.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 9, 2020.