Tsitsipas, Zverev and US upset on opening day

Australia's Alex de Minaur after beating Germany's Alexander Zverev to give his country an unassailable 2-0 lead.
Australia's Alex de Minaur after beating Germany's Alexander Zverev to give his country an unassailable 2-0 lead.PHOTO: EPA-EFE
Canada's Denis Shapovalov on his way to a famous victory over Greece's Stefanos Tsitsipas. Canada won 3-0.
Canada's Denis Shapovalov on his way to a famous victory over Greece's Stefanos Tsitsipas. Canada won 3-0. PHOTO: ASSOCIATED PRESS

SYDNEY • Denis Shapovalov won the battle of the next generation against Greece's Stefanos Tsitsipas to help Canada to an emphatic 3-0 victory in the inaugural ATP Cup men's team event in Brisbane yesterday.

The world No. 15 gave his country an unassailable 2-0 lead with a 7-6 (8-6), 7-6 (7-4) win over his sixth-ranked opponent at the Patrick Rafter Arena.

The US$15 million (S$20.2 million) ATP Cup, which features 24 nations competing in Perth, Brisbane and Sydney over 10 days, is a solid platform for the world's top players to prepare for this month's Australian Open, the first Grand Slam of the year.

The inaugural tournament also sprung several other upsets, including world No. 7 Alexander Zverev's 4-6, 7-6 (7-3), 6-2 defeat by Alex de Minaur.

With Nick Kyrgios putting the hosts in the lead after comfortably beating Jan-Lennard Struff 6-4, 7-6 (7-4), de Minaur's win gave Australia the victory over Germany in front of a partisan stadium.

Kyrgios' home town of Canberra has been severely affected by the ongoing bush fires and a number of Australian sports stars have rallied behind the world No. 30, who has received lot of attention on social media for raising funds to fight the firestorm.

"I don't really care about the praise too much. We've got the ability and the platform to do something. My home town is Canberra and we've got the most toxic air in the world at the moment, that's pretty sad. It's tough. Sorry," he said, before breaking into tears during a courtside interview.

The United States also fell to a shock 2-1 loss to Norway.

Casper Ruud saved two match points in the second set and weathered 33 aces from John Isner to emerge with a 6-7 (3-7), 7-6 (12-10), 7-5 win.

It levelled the scores after Taylor Fritz had thrashed Viktor Durasovic 6-2, 6-2 in the opener.

The Norwegians then paired up to down Rajeev Ram and Austin Krajicek 4-6, 6-3, 10-5 in the decisive doubles.

The teams for the ATP Cup were determined by the singles ranking of their best player.

Six of the top seven players in the world, barring Swiss great Roger Federer, are in Australia.

Separately, ATP Cup organisers were left red-faced yesterday after playing the wrong national anthem for a player from Moldova.

The gaffe occurred ahead of the opening singles tie in Sydney between Alexander Cozbinov and Belgian Steve Darcis.

Event officials told Agence France-Presse the Romanian anthem was played instead.

"At the start of the Moldova v Belgium match, we mistakenly played the wrong national anthem," the organisers said. "We are sincerely sorry and have apologised personally."

Eight teams will qualify from the round-robin stage to the knockout phase in Sydney until one country is left standing.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE


ATP CUP

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 04, 2020, with the headline 'Tsitsipas, Zverev and US upset on opening day'. Print Edition | Subscribe