January 28, 2023

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Davis Cup: Canada-Italy semi-final

The North Americans beat Germany 2-1 with points from Auger-Aliassim and Shapovalov-Pospisil: Saturday’s game against the Azzurri

Canada will face Italy in Saturday’s Davis Cup 2022 semifinal in Malaga, as predicted. But be careful: it’s true, the North Americans won against tricky Germany (2-1), but they really went through the pains of hell and didn’t leave a solid impression. In short, what Fognini and Volandry said after their epic win over the U.S. to dream, seeing this Canada, wasn’t just a throwaway phrase. Reverse. As Davies and Azzurri have already proved, you can only dream that it is not a simple association of players who meet according to ranking, winning at the strongest or highest levels and ending up there. No, it’s more: a mindset.

voltage

The Canadians are undoubtedly strong, but they are young, the most talented but not the most reliable in the world, in a situation like this, with the tension of a Davis semi-final. For better or worse, everything revolves around 23-year-old Denis Shapovalo, who has been exploding for years but never really exploded, except for a few hits here and there. Against Germany, the Tel Aviv-born and Russian-Ukrainian-born world number 18 (yes, you read that right) did and eliminated practically everything himself. Losing in an “alternating current” against Jan-Lennard Struff, a solid player but still ranked 152 in the world (6-3 4-6 7-6 (2)), the card match should have been storyless. Instead Shapovalov, as often happens to him, made countless mistakes, some meaningless, dropped the first set and then looked haunted in the third, where he first saved two match points and then, with a terrible tie break, gave the German the point. However, Shabo made amends two-fold and big time. Paired with Pospisil, he really pulled his partner and his national team against Krawietz and Puetz: here too he forgot a first set, losing 6-2, and then the 23-year-old dominated with Canada, spreading the lead. The other two sets were awarded 6-3 6-3.

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Number 1

Amidst all this, never to be forgotten, North American number one Felix Auger-Aliassime kept captain Frank Dansvik alive, beating Oscar Otte (again effortlessly) 7- 6 (1) 6-4. World No. 6, Tony Nadal’s new protégé and returning from a spectacular season finale (somewhat overshadowed by a poor final in Turin) has this Canadian a bit assured (he’s not too strict either) as the case favorite starts in the semi-final against Italy. Like America after all.