Denis Shapovalov and Felix Auger-Aliassime clinched a maiden ATP Cup crown for Canada with victories over Spain's Pablo Carreno Busta and Roberto Bautista Agut in Sunday's final.

Canada lost their opening four matches of the competition but recovered in style to reach a first final, which they won 2-0 with a couple of commanding straight-sets wins in the singles matches.

Shapovalov saw off Carreno Busta 6-4 6-3 in the opening singles rubber to give Canada, who had to rely on other results to avoid elimination earlier in the tournament, the lead in Sydney.

World number 11 Auger-Aliassime followed that up with a 7-6 (7-3) 6-3 victory against Bautista Agut to give Canada an unassailable 2-0 lead, meaning that there was no need for a doubles decider.

"The emotions are unbelievable. There's no better feeling than winning," Auger-Aliassime, who saved 10 of the 11 break points he faced, said in his on-court interview. "We left everything out there. 

"We came back from far in this competition, losing our first four matches. But we never stopped believing. I think that's very important. We trust each other to the highest level.

"It came down to the perfect result. I'm super thrilled for everybody in the whole team and myself, of course."

Canada become the third nation to have lifted the trophy after Serbia, who beat Spain 2-1 in the 2020 final, and Russia in 2021.

Canada will face Spain in their first ATP Cup final after eliminating defending champions Russia in Saturday's semi-final in Sydney. 

Denis Shapovalov and Felix Auger-Aliassime beat Russian duo Daniil Medvedev and Roman Safiullin 4-6 7-5 10-7 in the doubles to complete a tense 2-1 victory for Canada.

World number 14 Shapovalov edged Safiullin 6-4 5-7 6-4, but US Open champion Medvedev levelled up with a 6-4 6-0 win against Auger-Aliassime in the other singles match.

That set up a doubles showdown for the right to face Spain, who overcame Poland on Friday, which Canada came from behind to win.

Russia held in the opening set to take the lead, though a break of serve late in the second set for Canada ensured the contest would be decided by a tie-breaker.

Shapovalov and Auger-Aliassime held their nerve at the Ken Rosewall Arena, recovering from 6-5 down to win 10-7.

It marks a remarkable comeback in more ways than one for Canada, who lost their first four matches of the competition.

"Denis helped me and the team to push myself," Auger-Aliassime said in his on-court interview. 

"We had a tough start in the doubles, so to be able to come back in this way, it's really a team effort.

"That's what the ATP Cup is about. You can still win after being one-all and losing a tough singles. It's really about the team effort and we're happy to be through."

Roberto Bautista Agut saw Spain through to a second ATP Cup final by beating Hubert Hurkacz after Pablo Carreno Busta outclassed Jan Zielinski in Sydney on Friday.

Bautista Agut made it mission accomplished for Spain by defeating Poland's world number nine 7-6 (8-6) 2-6 7-6 (7-5) at the Ken Rosewall Arena.

Spain were beaten by Serbia in the final two years ago, but will get another opportunity to lift the trophy on Sunday when they face Canada or Russia.

Bautista Agut has won all four matches he has played in the competitions this week and came out on top despite Hurkacz hitting 61 winners to his 28.

The 33-year-old only made 14 unforced errors and secured the only mini-break in a final-set tie-break to put Spain into the final once again.

He said: "It's a match that I will always remember. I think both of us could get the win today. He also really deserved a lot of good things. But this is our game, this is tennis.

"Today I was the one who got the win. I think I also deserved it. I did a lot of good things on the court."

Felix Auger-Aliassime pulled off a terrific win over Alexander Zverev to carry Canada through to the ATP Cup semi-finals.

After Great Britain beat the United States 2-1 earlier to stake a claim for a last-four spot, Canada's singles players rose to the challenge to see off Germany.

That meant disappointment for Dan Evans and the British team, with Canada progressing to a clash with Russia as winners of Group C.

Denis Shapovalov got the better of Jan-Lennard Struff in a tight tussle, the world number 14 beating 51st-ranked Struff 7-6 (7-5) 4-6 6-3, giving Auger-Aliassime a swing at Olympic Games and ATP Finals champion Zverev before a possible doubles decider.

The world number 11 duly got the better of third-ranked Zverev by a similar score to the opening singles rubber, winning 75 per cent of first-serve points as he came through 6-4 4-6 6-3 late at night in Sydney.

Great Britain had impressed in edging out the US team, with Dan Evans beating John Isner and then teaming up with Jamie Murray to see off Isner and Taylor Fritz 6-7 (3-7) 7-5 10-8 in a dramatic doubles decider. Fritz beat Cameron Norrie in the second singles rubber.

Daniil Medvedev played a pivotal role as Russia wrapped up a perfect 3-0 match record in Group B, beating Italy 2-1 to nail down their semi-final place.

Defending champions Russia, who also won the Davis Cup last year, were on the back foot early on against Italy after Jannik Sinner beat Roman Safiullin, but US Open champion Medvedev ground out a 6-2 6-7 (5-7) 6-4 win over Matteo Berrettini to take the match – and the battle for top spot in the group – down to a doubles decider.

Medvedev and Safiullin were given a stiff test by their singles foes on the doubles court but had just enough to beat Berrettini and Sinner 7-5 4-6 10-5.

Jamie Murray has questioned why Novak Djokovic was granted special dispensation to compete at the Australian Open.

Seven-times grand slam doubles champion Murray was asked about the decision to grant Djokovic a medical exemption for the year's first grand slam tournament at Melbourne Park.

Players have been obliged to either prove they are vaccinated against COVID-19 or apply for an exemption, which tournament organisers said involved a "rigorous" process to prove eligibility.

World number one Djokovic is a nine-time Australian Open men's singles champion, yet it was unclear until Tuesday whether he would be allowed to play the event this year.

There has been early backlash to the decision to clear him, with Melbourne having been hit by multiple lockdowns during the pandemic and many believing only vaccinated players should be playing.

Murray, brother of Djokovic's long-time friend and rival Andy Murray, spoke after the Serbian was permitted to travel into Australia and said he doubted he would get the same treatment.

Asked about the situation in an ATP Cup news conference, Jamie Murray said: "I don't know what to say about that really. I think if it was me that wasn't vaccinated, I wouldn't be getting an exemption.

"But well done to him for getting cleared to come to Australia and compete."

 

Djokovic may wish to elaborate further on the factors behind him being given the green light to travel into the state of Victoria, and will doubtless face media questions about the situation once he arrives.

However, the 20-time grand slam winner has been unwilling to disclose his vaccination status until now, which suggests there is little prospect of him offering further medical insight at this stage.

Asked if he felt it was not a fair decision to exempt Djokovic, Jamie Murray added: "Whatever you want to say, that's the situation."

Murray, 35, was interrupted at that point by Great Britain captain Liam Broady, who said: "At the end of the day, you have to trust he has a valid reason for the medical exemption, that's all you can say about it really, isn't it."

However, Broady had no doubt Djokovic would play the Australian Open, which begins on January 17, and claimed it was a foregone conclusion.

In an Instagram story, Broady posted a screenshot of Djokovic's announcement, adding the remark: "The second AO announced there would be exemptions 8 weeks ago we all knew."

Daniil Medvedev quietened the home crowd in Sydney as he dispatched Australia's Alex De Minaur in straight sets to seal victory for Russia in the ATP Cup.

Medvedev, who led Russia to victory in last year's tournament, lost his first singles match at the 2022 edition, going down to France's Ugo Humbert.

However, the US Open champion hit back in convincing fashion against De Minaur, winning 6-4 6-2 in 80 minutes.

Medvedev's win took Russia into an unassailable 2-0 lead prior to the doubles encounter between the two nations, which the world number two also featured in alongside the in-form Roman Safiullin, who made it three wins from as many games by overcoming James Duckworth 7-6 (8-6) 6-4.

The Russian duo then made sure of a 3-0 match win in the doubles, coming back from losing the second set to triumph 10-6 in the decider.

"We fight when we play for our country, to the last point," said Medvedev, who also revealed he felt unwell before his singles game and had to take painkillers.

"I'm really happy for Roman, he's winning every match he's played so far. I watched his match tonight from the locker room. I've known him since he was 10, he had a good junior career and has been unlucky with injuries."

Russia have put themselves in a strong position to qualify from Group B, though they face Italy – in a repeat of last year's final – in their last match, with Australia taking on France, who are already eliminated.

France's elimination came at the hands of Italy, with Matteo Berrettini's singles win over Humbert was enough to secure victory for the 2021 runners-up.

Great Britain suffered disappointment in Group C, with Canada's Felix Auger-Aliassime and Denis Shapovalov coming out on top 6-4 6-1 in the decisive doubles encounter against Joe Salisbury and Jamie Murray. 

Dan Evans defeated Shapovalov in straight sets to nudge Great Britain ahead, yet Auger-Aliassime started Canada's comeback with a 7-6 (7-4) 6-3 win over Cameron Norrie.

It is all to play for in that group, with Germany having overcome the United States 2-1 – world number three Alexander Zverev in commanding form once more.

That leaves all four teams on 1-1 records and in with a chance of making the semi-finals.

World number four Stefanos Tsitsipas is optimistic he will be fit for this month's Australian Open after coming through his first complete singles match since undergoing surgery on his right elbow last November.

Following a gruelling three-set defeat to Diego Schwartzman at the ATP Cup in Sydney on Monday, Tsitsipas was upbeat about his prospects of performing in Melbourne.

"It gets better and better every single day", Tsitsipas said of his injury. "We have plenty of time before the Australian Open begins, and I think if I take the right precautions and follow what my doctor says, then I can see myself performing at 100 per cent.

The Greek went on to reveal that medics had harboured serious doubts over his participation at the first Grand Slam of 2022, after he had been forced to withdraw from November's ATP Finals in Turin.

"Going into that surgery, even the doctor was unsure if it was a good idea to perform and play at the Australian Open.

"My recovery was much better than he expected, in comparison with other players that he has treated in the past, so he was surprised. He came to Dubai, and he was surprised to see me hitting close to 100 per cent.

The 2021 French Open finalist also claimed to have enjoyed his contest with Schwartzman, despite the defeat.

"It was good to see myself perform at such a level. I didn't expect it," he said. "It worked out better than I thought. I was able to hit balls that I was scared to hit two weeks ago, so I’m heading towards the right direction."

Tsitsipas, who has won seven ATP Tour events to date, is due to be in action once more in Sydney this week against Georgian, Nikoloz Basilashvili.

Diego Schwartzman sealed a 2-0 win for Argentina over Greece in Group D of the ATP Cup after edging a close contest with world number four Stefanos Tsitsipas.

Schwartzman claimed just the third victory of his career over a top-five opponent, winning 6-7 (5-7) 6-3 6-3 in Sydney.

The world number 13 fought back from a break down in the second set before taking his career head-to-head with Tsitsipas to 2-1 after battling through two hours and 42 minutes on Ken Rosewall Arena.

"I was just trying to think that it was his first match for two months after his elbow [injury], so I was thinking just to try and be in the match," Schwartzman said in his on-court interview.

"I had the chance and I think I was ready. I am very happy because playing against Stefanos and being a set and a break down is not easy, but I found a way."

Argentina, who earlier saw Federico Delbonis defeat Michail Pervolarakis in straight sets, will now face Poland on Wednesday to decide who progresses to the semi-finals.

Poland were comfortable 3-0 winners in their match-up with Georgia, Kamil Majchrzak beating Aleksandre Bakshi for the loss of just two games before Hubert Hurkacz defeated Aleksandre Metreveli 6-7 (5-7) 6-3 6-1.

Pablo Carreno Busta beat Viktor Durasovic 6-3 6-3 to put Spain ahead against Norway, and their win was assured when Roberto Bautista Agut claimed an impressive 6-4 7-6 (7-4) victory over Casper Ruud. Alejandro Davidovich Fokina and Pedro Martinez followed up with a straight-sets doubles win.

"Casper is playing unbelievable tennis, [he did] an unbelievable performance last year, and today I played very good," Bautista Agut said. "I returned very well, I made very few unforced errors and I played aggressively. I try to play matches like this and that is why I am practising hard and I am trying to show this level."

Spain are top of Group A ahead of Serbia, whose match with Chile will go down to a doubles decider.

Daniil Medvedev suffered a shock loss in his first match of the year as the US Open champion was beaten by Ugo Humbert at the ATP Cup.

World number two Medvedev led by a set and 3-0 but stumbled from there and went down 6-7 (5-7) 7-5 7-6 (7-2) at the team event in Sydney.

He put that defeat behind him and paired up with Roman Safiullin in doubles to clinch a 2-1 victory for Russia over France in the round-robin Group B tie.

Medvedev and Safiullin were 6-4 6-4 winners over Fabrice Martin and Edouard Roger-Vasselin in the tie decider, with world number 167 Safiullin having earlier scored an impressive 2-6 7-5 6-3 singles victory over Arthur Rinderknech.

Humbert's remarkable comeback victory over Medvedev was the standout result of the contest, however, with the 23-year-old French left-hander saying afterwards: "It was a very tough match. I am very happy."

Metz-born Humbert added, quoted on the ATP website: "I had some opportunities in the first set and I just tried to stay relaxed and focused on what I had to do. It was a great match."

Australia had an eye-catching win in the same group, landing a 2-1 success over Italy, helped by Alex de Minaur beating Wimbledon runner-up Matteo Berrettini.

De Minaur scored a 6-3 7-6 (7-4) win to level the tie after Jannik Sinner swept past Max Purcell 6-1 6-3, with Berrettini and Simone Bolelli then beaten 6-3 7-5 in a late-night doubles tussle by John Peers and Luke Saville.

In Group C, Great Britain scored a 2-1 win over Germany, with Dan Evans and Jamie Murray teaming up in doubles to beat Alexander Zverev and Kevin Krawietz 6-3 6-4 to take the tie.

Zverev had earlier been too good for Cameron Norrie, posting a 7-6 (7-2) 6-1 win, after Evans sped to a 6-1 6-2 victory over Jan-Lennard Struff.

In their next tie, Germany will do battle with a United States side who were impressive 3-0 winners against Canada on Sunday. John Isner and Taylor Fritz scored singles victories over Brayden Schnur and Felix Auger-Aliassime before pairing up to beat Auger-Aliassime and Denis Shapovalov in doubles.

Stefanos Tsitsipas withdrew from his ATP Cup match against Hubert Hurkacz on Saturday but eased injury fears after playing in the doubles.

The Greek star, ranked fourth in the world, is recovering from elbow surgery but suffered a flare-up of the problem in Sydney and pulled out of the Group D singles tie as a precaution.

With the Australian Open coming up later this month, the two-time Melbourne Park semi-finalist appeared comfortable as he paired up with Michail Pervolarakis for a 6-4 5-7 10-8 win.

"The recovery from my elbow surgery in November is on track for Melbourne and today was a precautionary step to make sure I make Melbourne," he said.

"We will see day by day, match by match until then."

Aristotelis Thanos stepped in for Greece and lost 6-1 6-2 as Hurkacz helped Poland into a 2-0 lead after Kamil Majchrzak had beaten Pervolarakis 6-1 6-4, making the doubles clash a dead rubber.

Spain, runners-up in 2020, showed no mercy on Chile despite the absence of Rafael Nadal as they stormed to a 3-0 win in Group A.

Roberto Bautista Agut downed Cristian Garin 6-0 6-3, while Pablo Carreno Busta defeated Alejandro Tabilo 6-4 7-6 (7-4). Doubles pairing Alejandro Davidovich Fokina and Pedro Martinez battled to a 7-6 (7-3) 4-6 10-7 victory over Tabilo and Tomas Barrios.

Argentina also enjoyed a 3-0 triumph in Group D, with Georgia coming up blank against a team led by Diego Schwartzman.

Serbia, without Novak Djokovic, earned a decisive doubles success to seal a 2-1 win over Norway, with Nikola Cacic and Filip Krajinovic downing Casper Ruud and Viktor Durasovic.

World number one Novak Djokovic has withdrawn from the ATP Cup in Sydney amid ongoing uncertainty over his title defence at next month's Australian Open.

Djokovic has not yet confirmed his place at January's Grand Slam due to the COVID-19 mandate in Victoria.

The 34-year-old's father, Srdjan, has previously said that the nine-time Australian Open champion is unlikely to feature in Melbourne unless vaccination rules are relaxed.

World number 33 Dusan Lajovic will now lead the Serbia team at the ATP Cup.

Meanwhile, Austria have been replaced by France at the event following the withdrawals of Dominic Thiem and Dennis Novak. The French will be led by world number 35 Ugo Humbert, alongside Arthur Rinderknech, Edouard Roger-Vasselin and Fabrice Martin.

Russia's Andrey Rublev, Aslan Karatsev and Evgeny Donskoy have withdrawn, with Evgeny Karlovskiy joining the team, while Team USA's Austin Krajicek has also pulled out.

The ATP Cup will begin on New Year's Day at both Ken Rosewall Arena and Qudos Bank Arena, Sydney Olympic Park.

Andy Murray will compete at the Australian Open for the first time in three years after being awarded a main-draw wildcard.

Murray has finished as a runner-up five times at Melbourne Park – most recently in 2016 when he was beaten by Novak Djokovic 6-1 7-5 7-6 (7-3).

The Scot has since struggled with a hip injury that had him on the verge of retirement, while he dropped to 134th in the world rankings.

However, the former world number one was in action at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship in Abu Dhabi last week, where he defeated Rafael Nadal before eventually falling to Andrey Rublev in the final of the exhibition event.

Murray was due to feature at the Australian Open in 2020 before a positive coronavirus test stopped him from playing, but the 34-year-old is thankful for the chance to compete in Melbourne again.

"I'm really excited to be back playing at the Australian Open and grateful to Craig [Tiley] and the team for the opportunity," Murray said on his wildcard, as quoted by the tournament's website.

"I've had some great times in Australia playing in front of the amazing crowds and I can't wait to step back out on court at Melbourne Park."

Tournament director and Tennis Australia chief executive Craig Tiley added: "Andy is renowned for his fighting spirit, passion and love of the game, and I'm delighted to welcome him back to Melbourne in January."

American Stefan Kozlov and Frenchman Lucas Pouille join Murray as the men's singles wildcards so far, with the other four spots likely to go to Australians and another to an Asia-Pacific player.

The Australian Open gets underway on January 17 with the final set to take place 13 days later.

Dominic Thiem will skip the Australian Open if he is not happy with his fitness at the end of December, the former US Open champion said on Sunday.

The 28-year-old has not played on the ATP Tour since suffering a wrist injury at the grass-court Mallorca Championships in June.

Thiem missed Wimbledon and could not defend his grand slam title at Flushing Meadows, with injury fears lingering ahead of the new season.

Despite not requiring surgery on the damaged wrist, Thiem has been unable to play competitively and experienced a fresh setback this month when he pulled out of the Mubadala World Tennis Championship, an exhibition event in Abu Dhabi.

In announcing that decision on December 14, Thiem said he was "not yet ready to compete at the highest level", and there was little to inspire confidence when he issued an update confirming he would not travel to play in two events ahead of the Australian Open.

Although Thiem still wants to play at Melbourne Park, where the slam begins on January 17, his prospects are hinging on him feeling significantly more optimistic about his game and fitness in a matter of days.

Thiem wrote: "After speaking to my team, we have decided to return to Austria, instead of flying directly to Australia.

"Unfortunately, I caught a cold [and tested negative for COVID-19] while in Dubai and was unable to practise last week. I will therefore not be in the physical condition required to be able to play the ATP Cup and Sydney ATP 250.

"After not competing for the last six months I can't take the risk of coming back too soon and picking up a further injury.

"Overall, the time I spent in Dubai was great as I've increased the intensity and level of practise and my wrist is almost at 100 per cent.

"My aim is still to play the Australian Open but we will make a final decision about my participation by the end of December."

World number one Novak Djokovic has committed to playing the ATP Cup in Sydney amid ongoing uncertainty over his title defence at next month's Australian Open.

Djokovic has been unwilling to confirm his place at January's Australia Open due to the COVID-19 mandate in Victoria.

The state of Victoria, where the year's opening grand slam takes place at Melbourne Park, has introduced a vaccine mandate for professional athletes and across most industries due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Djokovic's father, Srdjan, said the nine-time Australian Open champion is unlikely to feature in Melbourne unless vaccination rules are relaxed.

But in a boost for the slam's organisers, Djokovic was named in top-seeded Serbia's team for the third edition of the ATP Cup, which will take place in Sydney from January 1-9.

"We're excited to host the third edition of the ATP Cup in Sydney in 2022," said ATP Cup tournament director Tom Larner.

"The playing group enjoy representing their countries and to see 18 of the world’s Top 20 players commit to the event is testament to that.

"The event shows off the passion the playing group have for this format and we look forward to welcoming all 16 teams to Sydney later this month."

The 2021 Australian Open went ahead, albeit in February instead of January, and without fans for most of the tournament following a snap lockdown of Melbourne due to COVID-19.

Djokovic – winner of a joint-record 20 grand slam titles – was among the players critical of the conditions athletes endured prior to this year's Australian Open, with strict quarantine measures introduced.

World number four Daniil Medvedev clinched ATP Cup success for Russia, who defeated Italy in Melbourne on Sunday.

On the eve of the Australian Open, Medvedev boosted his preparations by guiding Russia past Italy thanks to a 6-4 6-2 victory over Matteo Berrettini at Melbourne Park.

It was a dominant display from Russia, who won all eight singles matches they played in the ATP Cup, after Andrey Rublev overpowered Fabio Fognini 6-1 6-2 in the second matchup.

"I want to thank my team. Andrey won all of his matches," Medvedev said. "Thank you for being with me here and lifting this trophy in a few moments."

Medvedev heads in Monday's Australian Open in red-hot form, having won a personal-best 14 successive matches, dating back to the start of last year's Paris Masters.

Of those victories, 10 have come against top-10 opponents as 2019 US Open runner-up Medvedev – seeded fourth for the year's first grand slam – prepares to face Vasek Pospisil on Tuesday.

"It's a really big achievement because I also didn't lose a match. Yeah, 10 matches against Top 10 opponents, didn't lose a match in these 10 matches. It's a big boost in confidence," Medvedev said.

"Even when you lose, you know that you're capable of playing this level, and it helps you for the next time to stand up."

While Italy did not taste team success, Jannik Sinner claimed the Great Ocean Road Open on Sunday.

Sinner overcame countryman Stefano Travaglia 7-6 (7-4) 6-4 to earn his second title following the first all-Italian ATP Tour final since 1988.

The 19-year-old Sinner is the youngest player to win two ATP Tour titles since world number one Novak Djokovic (19) in 2006, while he is also the youngest player to celebrate back-to-back trophies since 20-time grand slam champion Rafael Nadal (19) in 2005.

Elsewhere, eighth seed Daniel Evans defeated Canadian sensation Felix Auger-Aliassime 6-2 6-3 to claim his first tour-level title.

Evans became the first Brit to win an ATP Tour title since Kyle Edmund at the New York Open last February.

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