Germany and Serbia will play for the ATP Cup semi-final on Thursday, as both teams ousted Canada. In their first tie of the tournament, the Germans won both singles matches over the Canadians, prevailing in the tie breaks to forge the victory and set a decisive clash versus Serbia.
Jan-Lennard Struff defeated Milos Raonic 7-6, 7-6 in two hours in the first match. Struff tamed his strokes nicely to hit 20 winners and 19 unforced errors, leaving Raonic on a more risky 35-44 ratio and prevailing in the decisive moments to move over the top, winning only one point more than his better-ranked opponent.
Both players lost serve once and stayed neck and neck until the tie breaks where Struff had the advantage. The returners couldn't do much in the opening set, and it went into a tie break after 44 minutes. The German forged a 6-1 advantage and closed it 7-4 with a service winner to grab a massive momentum ahead of set number two.
Jan-Lennard saved two break points at the beginning of the second set (backhand let Raonic down in those moments) and grabbed a break in the next one when Milos failed to control the net approach. The Canadian broke back at 15 with a return winner a few minutes later and saved no less than five break points in game eight to remain on the positive side.
Jan-Lennard Struff and Alexander Zverev earned victory for Germany over Canada.
Struff had the upper hand in the tie break once again and claimed it 7-2 to seal the deal and put Germany in front. In the second match, Alexander Zverev kicked off the season with a 6-7, 6-3, 7-6 triumph over Denis Shapovalov in two hours and 55 minutes to wrap up Germany's overall victory.
Alexander hit 39 winners and 34 unforced errors, fending off all four break chances and delivering one break in set number two. The German wasted many return chances in the decider but found a way to bring the victory home in the tie break.
A left-hander saved a break point in game 11 with a booming serve and seized the breaker 7-5 following Zverev's backhand mistake. Alexander bounced back with a break at 2-1 in set number two thanks to a return winner and saved break points in games five and seven to remain in front, closing the set with a smash winner at 5-3 to bring a decider.
There, Shapovalov denied seven break points in three different games to remain competitive and reach another tie break. Serving at 5-4, Zverev landed two aces to move over the top and set Thursday's Novak Djokovic clash.