Djokovic prevails, Thiem upset on Day 1 of ATP Cup
With Milos Raonic giving Team Canada a 1-0 lead following his victory over Dusan Lajovic, Serbia was looking to even the odds in the second match. Djokovic faced an inspired Shapovalov, who was hoping to get some revenge after losing to the World No.1 at last year's event.
Neither man was willing to yield much in the first set, with no breaks of serve at 5-5. However, the reigning Australian Open champion displayed his renown mental grit as he broke the young Canadian when he was serving at 5-6 to claim the first set.
The second set progressed in a similar fashion, as both men held serve. With Shapovalov serving at 5-6 to stay in the match, Djokovic applied more pressure to break his opponent and escape with a 7-5 7-5 victory.
Serbia and Canada are now tied at 1-1, and a deciding doubles match will determine the victor.
Group C saw Austria take on Italy, with the Austrians holding a 1-0 lead after Dennis Novak defeated Fabio Fognini earlier in the day. Although Dominic Thiem tried to seal the deal for his country, the World No.3 was unable to overcome Matteo Berrettini. The Italian overpowered Thiem 6-2 6-4 to level the score at one-apiece and set a deciding doubles match.
Berrettini played aggressively from the start, keeping Thiem off-balance with his powerful groundstrokes. After obtaining a break to lead 3-2, the World No.10 reeled off three consecutive games to take the first set 6-2.
The Italian kept his foot on the gas in the second set, racing to a quick 4-0 lead. Thiem finally ended Berrettini's streak of nine straight games won to get on the board, and even managed to break back. Nonetheless, it was too late as he was unable to deter the relentless attacking play from his opponent. Berrettini served out the match and got the win for Italy after one hour and 21 minutes.