World no. 14 Denis Shapovalov made solid progress in 2019, starting from inside the top-30 and finishing in the top-15 for the first time in his young career. After Shanghai, Denis claimed 11 of the last 15 encounters of the season, gathering confidence at the Davis Cup Finals where Canada reached the final in Madrid, only to lose to Spain.
A month and a half later, Denis is the leader of the pack at another team event, guiding Canada at the ATP Cup in challenging Group F at Pat Rafter Arena in Perth. In the first match, Shapovalov prevailed against Stefanos Tsitsipas in two tie breaks, losing to Alex de Minaur before delivering a commanding 6-2, 6-2 triumph over Alexander Zverev in the last group match.
It took only 70 minutes for Shapovalov to seal the deal against the struggling German, firing 12 aces and dominating with the first serve to fend off both break points he faced. On the other hand, Zverev never found the rhythm, hitting seven doubles faults and being in all kinds of troubles after missing the first serve to get broken four times and propel the Canadian over the finish line.
Denis is pleased with the opening week of the season, reaching a high level and being able to play on his terms with his serve and forehand. Also, the Canadian likes the ATP Cup, the innovations and the atmosphere it brings.
"It was an excellent match for me and I have been playing on a high level through the ATP Cup so far. I'm happy to get another win for Canada and hope we can get through after the doubles. My game is based on serve and forehand, using the advantage of that lefty serve that opens the court for me, with my forehand ready to finish the point in aggressive style.
The ATP Cup has been fun so far, with two coaches by my side and VR; I think the fans have been enjoying the tournament and the players as well, not having too many chances to play as teammates and support each other. For me, it was a great week so far."