Davis Cup: Denis Shapovalov makes strong debut as Canada sweeps Chile

Teen sensation Denis Shapovalov put the cherry on top of Canada's perfect weekend in the Davis Cup playoffs, scoring a win which, with Frank Dancevic's win in the final rubber, clinched a 5-0 win for Canada.

Davis Cup: Denis Shapovalov makes strong debut as Canada sweeps Chile
Denis Shapovalov celebrates his first ever Davis Cup victory on Sunday. Photo: Lafotoz
Canada
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Chile

Having already earned their spot in the 2017 Davis Cup world group by winning the first three points in their playoff with Chile, a relaxed Canadian team completed the sweep with a pair of dead rubber victories on Sunday. It was a symbolic changing of the guard for the Canadians, as the youngest member of the team, 17-year-old Denis Shapovalov, scored his first win in the Davis Cup while the oldest singles player on the team, Frank Dancevic, wrapped up the sweep, with both men winning in straight sets.

Shapovalov scores first Davis Cup victory

With victory in the tie already guaranteed, Vasek Pospisil gave way to Canadian teen sensation Denis Shapovalov for the first dead rubber on Sunday. The Wimbledon junior champion was a bit shaky in the opening set, facing a break point in his opening service game. Christian Garin sensed blood and poured the pressure on the young Canadian’s serve in the opener. He held break points in four of Shapovalov’s six service games, but did not convert any of them. In the 12th game, the Chilean was forced to save two break points, which were also set points, on his own serve before forcing a tiebreak. After exchanging minibreaks early, it was Shapovalov who made a late move, grabbing a minibreak for a 6-5 lead and converting his third set points for a one-set lead.

Shapovalov hits a serve during his Davis Cup debut. Photo: Lafotoz
Shapovalov hits a serve during his Davis Cup debut. Photo: Lafotoz

After missing so many opportunities in the opening set, Garin was finally rewarded with a break in the sixth game, grabbing a 4-2 lead. However, he could not take advantage of the lead and gave the break right back. From 2-4 down, Shapovalov upped his game, reeling off four straight games, breaking twice to seal the 7-6(5), 6-4 victory in his first ever senior level Davis Cup rubber.

Dancevic completes sweep

For the final rubber, Chile subbed in their highest ranked player, Gonzalo Lama, hoping to make the score somewhat respectable. However, it was immediately clear why Lama had not played in the important rubbers on day one as he was broken in his first two service games to trail 3-0. He managed to recover the first break immediately, but made no more inroads on Dancevic’s serve in the set, dropping it 6-4.

Frank Dancevic serves during the fifth rubber. Photo: Davis Cup
Frank Dancevic serves during the fifth rubber. Photo: Davis Cup

Lama did better early in the second, as he held a pair of break points in the Canadian’s first service game, but he was unable to convert either. Dancevic made him pay as he broke the Chilean to love in the following game to get control of the second set. Lama would have a chance to break back in the sixth game, but could not convert. Dancevic failed to extend the lead when he missed a break point in the following game, but it did not matter. The Canadian veteran had the only break he needed and held on to seal the victory and the sweep for the Canadians.