Auger-Aliassime, Shapovalov give Canada 1st Davis Cup title

Nov 26, 2022, 7:29 PM | Updated: Nov 27, 2022, 9:36 am
Canada's Felix Auger Aliassime, right, celebrates with teammate after defeating Australia's Alex de...

Canada's Felix Auger Aliassime, right, celebrates with teammate after defeating Australia's Alex de Minaur during the final Davis Cup tennis match between Australia and Canada in Malaga, Spain, Sunday, Nov. 27, 2022. (AP Photo/Joan Monfort)

(AP Photo/Joan Monfort)

              Canada's Vasek Pospisil, left, and Felix Auger Aliassime celebrate after defeating Italy's Matteo Berrettini and Fabio Fognini during the semi-final Davis Cup tennis doubles match between Italy and Canada in Malaga, Spain, Saturday, Nov. 26, 2022. (AP Photo/Joan Monfort)
            
              Australia's Thanasi Kokkinakis returns the ball to Canada's Denis Shapovalov during the final Davis Cup tennis match between Australia and Canada in Malaga, Spain, Sunday, Nov. 27, 2022. (AP Photo/Joan Monfort)
            
              Australia's Thanasi Kokkinakis reacts as he plays Canada's Denis Shapovalov during the final Davis Cup tennis match between Australia and Canada in Malaga, Spain, Sunday, Nov. 27, 2022. (AP Photo/Joan Monfort)
            
              Australia's Alex de Minaur returns the ball to Canada's Felix Auger Aliassime during the final Davis Cup tennis match between Australia and Canada in Malaga, Spain, Sunday, Nov. 27, 2022. (AP Photo/Joan Monfort)
            
              Canada's Felix Auger Aliassime, center, celebrates with teammate after defeating Australia's Alex de Minaur during the final Davis Cup tennis match between Australia and Canada in Malaga, Spain, Sunday, Nov. 27, 2022. (AP Photo/Joan Monfort)
            
              Canada's Felix Auger Aliassime celebrates after defeating Australia's Alex de Minaur during the final Davis Cup tennis match between Australia and Canada in Malaga, Spain, Sunday, Nov. 27, 2022. (AP Photo/Joan Monfort)
            
              Australia's Alex de Minaur returns the ball to Canada's Felix Auger Aliassime during the final Davis Cup tennis match between Australia and Canada in Malaga, Spain, Sunday, Nov. 27, 2022. (AP Photo/Joan Monfort)
            
              Canada's Felix Auger Aliassime serves to Australia's Alex de Minaur during the final Davis Cup tennis match between Australia and Canada in Malaga, Spain, Sunday, Nov. 27, 2022. (AP Photo/Joan Monfort)
            
              Canada's Denis Shapovalov celebrates after defeating Australia's Thanasi Kokkinakis during the final Davis Cup tennis match between Australia and Canada in Malaga, Spain, Sunday, Nov. 27, 2022. (AP Photo/Joan Monfort)
            
              Canada's Felix Auger Aliassime celebrates after defeating Australia's Alex de Minaur during the final Davis Cup tennis match between Australia and Canada in Malaga, Spain, Sunday, Nov. 27, 2022. (AP Photo/Joan Monfort)
            
              Canada's Denis Shapovalov, top center, celebrates with teammate after defeating Australia's Thanasi Kokkinakis during the final Davis Cup tennis match between Australia and Canada in Malaga, Spain, Sunday, Nov. 27, 2022. (AP Photo/Joan Monfort)
            
              Canada's Felix Auger Aliassime reacts as he plays Australia's Alex de Minaur during the final Davis Cup tennis match between Australia and Canada in Malaga, Spain, Sunday, Nov. 27, 2022. (AP Photo/Joan Monfort)
            
              Canada's Felix Auger Aliassime, right, celebrates with teammate after defeating Australia's Alex de Minaur during the final Davis Cup tennis match between Australia and Canada in Malaga, Spain, Sunday, Nov. 27, 2022. (AP Photo/Joan Monfort)

MALAGA, Spain (AP) — Felix Auger-Aliassime fell to his back behind the baseline, then waited for teammates to race off Canada’s bench and pile on top of him.

A few minutes later, the Canadians finally could lift the Davis Cup.

“I think of us all here, we’ve dreamt of this moment,” Auger-Aliassime said.

Canada won the title for the first time on Sunday, beating Australia behind victories from Denis Shapovalov and Auger-Aliassime.

Auger-Aliassime secured the winning point when he downed Alex de Minaur 6-3, 6-4 after Shapovalov opened the day by rolling past Thanasi Kokkinakis 6-2, 6-4.

Seven years after leading Canada to the top of junior tennis, Auger-Aliassime, Shapovalov and their teammates finally got to lift the biggest team trophy in their sport.

“We wanted to grow up and be part of the team and try to help the country win the first title,” Shapovalov said, “so everything is just so surreal right now.”

Shapovalov had dropped both his singles matches this week and needed treatment on his back during a three-set loss Saturday in the semifinals to Lorenzo Sonego of Italy that lasted 3 hours, 15 minutes. But the left-hander moved quickly around the court Sunday, setting up angles to put away winners while racing to a 4-0 lead in the first set.

Auger-Aliassime then finished off his superb second half of the season by completing a perfect week in Spain. He twice had kept the Canadians alive after Shapovalov dropped the opening singles match, and on Saturday he replaced his weary teammate to join Vasek Pospisil for the decisive doubles point.

This time, Auger-Aliassime made sure the doubles match wouldn’t even be necessary. After his teammates poured onto the court to celebrate with him, they got up and danced around in a circle.

Canada had reached the final only once, falling to host Spain in Madrid in 2019, when Rafael Nadal beat Shapovalov for the clinching point after Auger-Aliassime had lost in the opening match.

But with Auger-Aliassime having since surged up the rankings to his current spot at No. 6, the Canadians are a much more formidable team now. They won the ATP Cup in January and finally added the Davis Cup crown to the junior Davis Cup title Auger-Aliassime and Shapovalov led them to in 2015.

Australia was trying for its 29th title and first since current captain Lleyton Hewitt was part of the title-winning team in 2003.

But it was finally time for the Canadians, who were given a wild card into the field when Russia was suspended because of its invasion of Ukraine.

“Look, I think we were very close today,” de Minaur said. “Just wait until the next time we get the same matchup. Hopefully we can get the win and prove that we can do it.”

But Canada will be tough to beat as long as Auger-Aliassime and Shapovalov play.

Shapovalov is just 23 and Auger-Aliassime 22, but both already have been Grand Slam semifinalists and Auger-Aliassime ended 2022 as one of the hottest players on the ATP Tour. He won all of his four titles this year, including three straight weeks in October.

He also beat Carlos Alcaraz in the previous Davis Cup stage in September, just after the Spaniard had won the U.S. Open to rise to No. 1 in the rankings. That victory helped send the Canadians into the quarterfinals, which they started this week by edging Germany.

“They’re not kids anymore, that’s for sure. Not after today — well not after the last couple of years,” said Pospisil, the team veteran at 32. “They’ve been crushing it.”

___

AP tennis: https://apnews.com/hub/tennis and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Justin Rose, of England, reacts after making an eagle putt on the sixth green of the Pebble Beach G...
Associated Press

Justin Rose wins at Pebble Beach to end 4-year drought

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. (AP) — Justin Rose took all the drama out of a long week with three quick birdies that sent him to a three-shot victory Monday in the wind-delayed AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, ending four years without winning and making him eligible for the Masters. Rose played it safe down the closing holes, […]
1 day ago
NASCAR Cup Series driver Ryan Blaney (12) spins out and is hit by Daniel Suarez (99) during the Bus...
Associated Press

Column: Sloppy race clouds NASCAR’s return to LA Coliseum

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Bubba Wallace said his back and neck hurt following the bumping and banging of NASCAR’s first event of the new year, an exhibition that Kyle Larson called “very violent for the majority of the race.” Austin Dillon was shocked at the aggressiveness shown Sunday night at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, […]
1 day ago
Boston Bruins newly hired head coach Jim Montgomery, center, displays a Bruins jersey while standin...
Associated Press

Coaching carousel spins perfectly for Bruins, Stars, Knights

Getting fired by the Boston Bruins didn’t stop former coach Bruce Cassidy from picking up the phone and giving some advice when replacement Jim Montgomery called to ask. Getting fired by the Vegas Golden Knights also didn’t stop Peter DeBoer from answering a call from Cassidy, who replaced him in his old job. DeBoer was […]
1 day ago
South Carolina head coach Dawn Staley reacts in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game ...
Associated Press

Indiana reaches No. 2 in women’s AP Top 25; SC still No. 1

South Carolina beat a top opponent to remain No. 1 in The Associated Press women’s college basketball poll released Monday and now has a showdown with another one looming this weekend. The Gamecocks (23-0) topped then- No. 5 UConn 81-77 on Sunday to remain unbeaten and stay the unanimous choice atop the poll from the […]
1 day ago
Manchester City's head coach Pep Guardiola sits on the bench before the English FA Cup 4th round so...
Associated Press

How Manchester City came to face Premier League charges

GENEVA (AP) — The English Premier League vs. Manchester City: a legal fixture for the ages. Soccer’s richest and most watched league challenged its defending champion on Monday with more than 100 charges of alleged financial wrongdoing and failures to cooperate with an investigation that took more than four years. Dozens of charges allege breaches […]
1 day ago
Purdue head coach Matt Painter argues a call during the second of an NCAA college basketball game a...
Associated Press

Purdue stays No. 1 in AP Top 25; NC State in at No. 22

Purdue’s unquestioned grip on No. 1 in The Associated Press men’s college basketball poll is gone after a weekend loss. That didn’t stop the Boilermakers from remaining at the top anyway. The Boilermakers earned 38 of 62 first-place votes in the poll released Monday to remain at No. 1 for a third straight week and […]
1 day ago
Auger-Aliassime, Shapovalov give Canada 1st Davis Cup title