Canada has become the first team to score a victory at the inaugural ATP Cup, defeating Greece 2-0 at Pat Rafter Arena in Brisbane to top Group F ahead of the clash between Germany and Australia. In the first match, Felix Auger-Aliassime took down world no.
487 Michail Pervolarakis 6-1, 6-3 in 69 minutes to put Canada in front and make the winning start of the season after an injury in the closing stages of 2019. The young Canadian lost only ten points on serve, never facing a break point and mounting the pressure on the other side of the net, something Pervolorakis couldn't endure, serving at only 39% and suffering four breaks from ten chances offered to the better-ranked opponent.
Settling into a nice rhythm on both serve and return, Auger-Aliassime grabbed the first set in no time at all after three breaks in breaks one, three and seven, delivering five easy holds in set number two as well and waiting for a chance on the return patiently.
It came in the sixth game when he moved 4-2 up following a backhand error from Pervolarakis, sealing the deal in game nine to deliver the first point for his country that also played in the final of the Davis Cup Finals in November.
In one of the most anticipated matches of the day, Denis Shapovalov prevailed against Stefanos Tsitsipas 7-6, 7-6 in just over two hours to propel Canada over the finish line. The ATP Finals champion played better on both the first and second serve, claimed one point more than Canadian and faced only one break chance in the entire encounter, still finding himself on the losing side after failing to convert any of four break opportunities earned on the return.
Shapovalov was there to challenge world no. 6 all the time, saving a set point at 4-5 in the first set and producing better tennis in the breakers to seal the deal and wrap up the first triumph of the season. After nine easy holds on both sides, a left-hander fended off that set point at 4-5 with a service winner, converting his third set point in the tie break to grab it 8-6 after an ace.
There were no breaks in the second set as well, with Shapovalov saving break chances at 5-5 to reach the tie break that he clinched 7-4 following a double fault from Stefanos.