OSIJEK, Croatia — Denis Shapovalov defeated Viktor Galovic 6-4, 6-4, 6-2 Friday to even Canada’s Davis Cup World Group tie against Croatia at 1-1.
The 18-year-old from Richmond Hill, Ont., fired 10 aces, had 17 winners and won 83 percent of his first service points as Canada rebounded after dropping its first match of the day.
“I felt very comfortable playing on clay — I actually find that it is a surface that suits my game,” Shapovalov said. “It was a great way for me to begin this Davis Cup tie and I am happy to have gotten a point for my team.”
The Canadian team began the best-of-five, first-round series with a 3-6, 6-2, 6-3, 6-2 loss by Vancouver’s Vasek Pospisil against Coric Borna. Pospisil filled in for Peter Polansky when the Toronto native was scratched.
“Peter had an elbow injury when he arrived in Osijek. At first, the pain was tolerable but kept getting worse as the week was progressing,” Team Canada captain Frank Dancevic said in a news release. “He did a few tests yesterday and the doctor and I thought it would be best for him not to play. I was not confident that he would be able to last if the match would have gone to five sets. You always have to be ready for anything in a David Cup tie.”
In the later match, the 48th-ranked Shapovalov dispatched his 181st-ranked opponent in one hour 50 minutes. Shapovalov broke Galovic four times and held serve throughout.
Shapovalov is not only the youngest member of Canada’s Davis Cup team but also the highest-ranked singles player. Pospisil is ranked 85th, Polansky is 141st and Dancevic of Niagara Falls, Ont., is 350th. Toronto’s Daniel Nestor is 60th in the doubles rankings.
Nestor and Pospisil will play Franko Skugor and Ivan Dodig in the doubles match Saturday, followed by two more singles matches Sunday. The 45-year-old Nestor will be playing in his 52nd match for Canada.
Posisil said after his singles match that he had a “lapse both physically and mentally” against Borna.
“I am disappointed with the result because I felt that I was hitting the ball well enough to win the match, but my body was not cooperating the way I wanted it to,” he said. “I now have to leave all that behind me and concentrate on tomorrow.”
Croatia has lost five of its last six Davis Cup ties at home but Canada has not won a road tie since 2011.
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