On Saturday, Felix Auger-Aliassime and Denis Shapovalov defeated Daniil Medvedev and Roman Safiullin 4-6, 7-5, 10-7 to give Canada its first ATP Cup final appearance. In Sunday's championship match, Spain, a two-time finalist, awaits.
The Canadians dropped their first four games of the tournament, putting their chances of making the knockout rounds in jeopardy. Canada would have been eliminated before playing their third round if the US had defeated Great Britain in the Match Tie-break of their deciding doubles match on Thursday.
Auger-Aliassime and Shapovalov, on the other hand, have made the most of their opportunities in Sydney. After Shapovalov poached to hit a winning short backhand volley on match point, their joy was palpable. To rejoice, the longtime friends jumped into each other's arms.
Auger-Aliassime produced a magnificent backhand drop volley at 6/5 in the Play Tie-Break despite some scratchy baseline blunders in his singles match, which carried over into the doubles. After a one-hour and 38-minute fight, the World No. 11 double-faulted on his first match point at 9/6 and missed his first serve at 9/7.
Auger-Aliassime and Shapovalov are 1-1 on the week, with Auger-Aliassime and Shapovalov winning the deciding doubles match against Jamie Murray and Joe Salisbury in group play.
This week, Medvedev and Safiullin were 3-0 in doubles. Russia finished 3-0 in Group B, but fell just short of qualifying for the final by a few points.
At No. 2 singles, Shapovalov beat Safiullin in a two-hour, 39-minute thriller to get Canada off to a good start in the tie. The tie was then leveled when Medvedev defeated Auger-Aliassime in straight sets at No. 1 singles.