US Open champion Daniil Medvedev has missed the chance to snare a second straight ATP Cup crown after Russia suffered a 2-1 loss to Canada in the semi-finals.
Medvedev was ruthless in a 6-4 6-0 demolition of world No.11 Felix Auger-Aliassime to level Saturday’s tie at 1-1 after world No.14 Denis Shapovalov had beaten Roman Safiullin 6-4 5-7 6-4.
Russia won the opening set of the deciding doubles and was one point away from sending the second set to a tiebreak, only for Safiullin’s wayward shot on golden-point deuce to hand the set to Canada.
Shapovalov and Auger-Aliassime dominated in the match tiebreak against Medvedev and Safiullin, racing to a 9-5 lead before securing victory on their third match point.
Canada’s 4-6 7-5 10-7 win in the doubles propelled them into Sunday’s final against Spain, who booked their spot in the decider with a 2-0 win over Poland on Friday.
Spain beat Canada 2-0 in the 2019 Davis Cup final, and Shapovalov is desperate for revenge.
“We played them in the finals, but we’ll definitely try to turn the script,” Shapovalov said during his on-court interview.
“The team chemistry (we have) is unbelievable. Me and Felix have been going since way back in the day, and we trust each other and there’s no ego.
“We really rely on each other. It’s been one of the best weeks for me, but we’ll try to make it even better.”
Aside from his shock opening singles loss to France’s world No.35 Ugo Humbert, Medvedev enjoyed a strong ATP Cup campaign in what has been a solid warm-up to the Australian Open.
The world No.2 was utterly dominant against Auger-Aliassime on Saturday, especially in the second set when Medvedev didn’t concede a game.
“It was really tough for me until 4-3 in the first,” Medvedev said.
“I thought, ‘How can I actually break his serve?’ He was serving just aces, playing good, so I knew I just had to stay in the match, try to do what I can.
“He definitely started to play a little bit worse and I managed to use it, and that was the key today.”
Auger-Aliassime said Shapovalov helped him recover from the disappointing loss to Medvedev in time for the doubles.
“I had to try to stay positive,” he said.
“It was tough, especially in that second set the way it went in singles.
“Denis helped me and the team to push myself. To be able to come back this way is a team effort.”