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You are here: Tennis Davis Cup Shapovalov quells Yuki fightback to level Davis Cup tie at 1-1

Shapovalov quells Yuki fightback to level Davis Cup tie at 1-1

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The Canadian Davis Cup team is tied 1-1 with India after the opening day of competition at the Davis Cup by BNP Paribas World Group play-off tie at Northlands Coliseum in Edmonton. Canada’s No. 2 singles player Brayden Schnur (Pickering, Ont.) fell 5-7, 7-6(4), 7-5, 7-5 in the first rubber to Indian No. 1 Ramkumar Ramanathan, before Canada’s top player Denis Shapovalov defeated Indian No. 2 Yuki Bhambri 7-6(2), 6-4, 6-7(6), 4-6, 6-1.

Ramanathan dispatched Schnur in three hours and 16 minutes, and recorded 20 aces to Schnur’s 14. While the 22-year-old Canadian captured the first set in his first-ever Davis Cup match, Schnur struggled to capitalize on his break point opportunities, only converting 3 of 18 chances. However, he remained optimistic following his first career five-set match, and first tie representing the Canadian flag.

“I’m playing in Edmonton, playing in Canada, my home country. I had the crowd behind me,” Schnur reflected on his Davis Cup debut. “We have a great team, and I think we’re going to pull this tie out. I just told myself I was going to go out there and embrace it and that I was going to beat this guy, but came up short today. Credit to him – he played well.”

Shapovalov came out strong to start the second rubber of the day, taking a two-set lead however Bhambri swung back and took the next two. The marathon three hour and 52 minute-match was finally decided when Shapovalov captured two breaks in the fifth set to secure the win. The 18-year-old rising Canadian talent registered 19 aces during his first career five set match, with his fastest serve of the evening clocking in at 219 km/h.

“I haven’t played too many Davis Cup ties so it’s all pretty fresh for me,” Shapovalov said following his first match as Canada’s No. 1 Davis Cup player. “Obviously the pressure’s different, playing for your country in a team atmosphere. For me, it’s fun to be in these positions. I’m learning every day and getting new experiences. I think we have a really good chance in the doubles. Vasek [Pospisil] and Daniel [Nestor] are a lethal combo, they’ve done so well together so I really believe that they can win tomorrow.”

With the tie now even at one match apiece, Saturday’s doubles match will be critical for both teams. Veteran doubles player Daniel Nestor and Vasek Pospisil are set to team up for the 1 p.m. MT duel with Nestor making his 51st Davis Cup appearance for Canada, while Pospisil is set to play his 15th tie. The pair hold a 5-4 record when playing together in doubles on the Davis Cup stage. They prepare to face another experienced duo in India’s Rohan Bopanna, currently competing in his 14th year of Davis Cup competition, and Purav Raja. Indian captain Mahesh Bhupathi announced on Thursday ahead of the draw ceremony that Raja would replace Saketh Myneni for the tie. Bhupathi and Canadian captain Martin Laurendeau have up until one hour before the match to change their nominations.