© Peter Staples/ATP Tour

Canadian pair Felix Auger-Aliassime and Denis Shapovalov team to defeat Jamie Murray and Joe Salisbury on Tuesday at ATP Cup.

Felix Drives Canada To Victory Over Great Britain

Canada clinches tie 2-1

A pumped-up Felix Auger-Aliassime did double duty for Canada Tuesday at ATP Cup to keep alive its ATP Cup hopes in Sydney.

The 21-year-old backed up his singles win over Cameron Norrie by teaming with Denis Shapovalov to down Jamie Murray and Joe Salisbury 6-4, 6-1 to seal a 2-1 comeback victory for Canada against Great Britain in Group C.

The result means all four Group C teams hold a 1-1 record going into the final ties on Thursday.

The pair won 82 per cent (27/33) of their first-serve points and returned with great depth and power throughout to seal an impressive victory after 70 minutes. Canada plays Germany in its final Group C tie, while Great Britain takes on the United States.

Earlier, Auger-Aliassime breathed life into Team Canada’s ATP Cup bid, edging Norrie 7-6(4), 6-3 to level its tie against Great Britain at 1-1.

Following Canada’s defeat to the United States in its opening tie and Shapovalov’s loss to Daniel Evans earlier on Tuesday, Canada faced elimination from the 16-team event if Auger-Aliassime did not defeat Norrie.

However, with the pressure on, the World No. 11, who is making his second ATP Cup appearance, delivered as he struck heavy, powerful forehands to pin Norrie behind the baseline to triumph after one hour and 59 minutes.

“I am happy with the win,” Auger-Aliassime said in his on-court interview. “Stepping onto court against a player like Cam, who plays really well. You try to find a way to win and the most important thing at the end of the day is the victory. I am happy to keep the team alive, but the work is not done.”

In an entertaining match, Auger-Aliassime aimed to hit through Norrie from the baseline with his heavy groundstrokes. The Canadian fired 18 winners in the first set, but had to be patient, with Norrie saving seven set points, including four in the tie-break, before Auger-Aliassime finally sealed the set with a smash.

The 21-year-old continued to play aggressively in the second set as he outmanoeuvred Norrie from the baseline. Auger-Aliassime broke twice in the second set to earn Canada its first ATP Cup win of the tournament.

See Group Standings

In the first match, Evans continued to lead the way for Great Britain at ATP Cup, overcoming Shapovalov 6-4, 6-4 to maintain his perfect start to the season to give Great Britain a 1-0 advantage against Canada.

The 31-year-old, who earned decisive singles and doubles wins against Germany on Sunday, played consistently and used his backhand slice to great effect throughout to disrupt Shapovalov, triumphing after 82 minutes.

"I love representing my country," Evans said in his on-court interview. "It is the best thing you can do in any sport in my opinion. It is amazing to be out here with fans, to have all the guys screaming, whoever you are screaming for, it has been great."

The World No. 25 now holds a 5-1 ATP Cup singles record and leads Shapovalov 2-1 in their ATP Head2Head series. Evans, who did not face a break point against Shapovalov, has had previous success in Australia, having captured his maiden tour-level title at the Murray River Open in Melbourne last year.

"I think on my service games I try to be aggressive and manoeuvre [the ball] and then on his service games, if I have to, I hang back a bit and tonight was a good opportunity to defend a bit more and frustrate him," Evans said.

ATP Cup format sees the No. 2 singles played first, followed by the No. 1 singles and the doubles. Doubles uses no-ad scoring and a match tie-break in place of a third set.

Each country plays three matches in group play from 1-6 January across Ken Rosewall Arena and Qudos Bank Arena at Sydney Olympic Park. One team emerges from each of the four groups to contest the two semi-finals, which will be split over two days (7-8 January), with the final played 9 January.