“For Felix, he just has to take a look at that tape and learn how to manage his game a little bit better, and not make so many unforced errors on the wrong balls,” Jim Courier said of the Canadian’s poor performance during Nine’s call.
It was as comprehensive a win as Medvedev could have possibly hoped for against the world No. 11 in a week in which the Russian star stamped himself as the Australian Open favourite, should Novak Djokovic be unable to take his place.
“It was really tough for me until 4-3 in the first,” Medvedev said of the match.
“I actually (just) thought about how I could break his serve. He was serving so many aces, I knew I just had to stay in the match and do what I could against what was possible against his big game.
“He started to play worse, and I managed to use it.”
Auger-Aliassime bounced back in the decisive doubles rubber.
Medvedev and Safiullin claimed the first set 6-4, and appeared to be on their way to a second-set win which would have put them through to Sunday’s final.
But when serving to push the set to a tiebreaker, Safiullin felt the pressure, Shapovalov and Auger-Aliassime made him pay and the tie was decided by a match tiebreaker.
At that point, the Canadians had all the momentum and pinched an early lead in the breaker.
It was a lead they did not relent. Shapovalov nailed a backhand volley on the second match point, bringing the reigning ATP Cup champions’ title defence to an end.
Canada will face Spain in Sunday’s final.
Earlier, the anti-climax of the No.1 singles rubber was offset by a captivating clash between Shapovalov and Safiullin.
Shapovalov’s destructive forehand played a critical part in claiming the 6-4 first set.
The second set was tight. Shapovalov’s level dipped as his double fault and unforced error count climbed, and Safiullin rose to the occasion.
The Russian, who started the week with a world ranking of No. 167, has been one of the finds of the tournament and forced a decider.
But he couldn’t complete the upset, which would have put Russia in a commanding position before Medvedev’s dominant win.
Shapovalov showed plenty of mental mettle to regain his composure and grind away at the Russian, eventually forcing a break and closing the final set 6-4.
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