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Auger-Aliassime enter record books with victory at inaugural ATP Cup

Canada’s Felix Auger-Aliassime won the first-ever ATP Cup match on Thursday. The 19-year-old beat Greece’s Michail Pervolarakis 6-1, 6-3 to open the tournament’s inaugural edition in Australia.

The 21st-ranked Montreal native fired five aces while winning 85 per cent of his first-serve points versus his Greek foe, ranked 487th.

After Auger-Aliassime dusted aside Pervolarakis, Shapovalov took down world No. 6 Stefanos Tsitsipas in straight sets, with both ending in tiebreaks.

Interrupted by a weather delay, the 20-year-old Canadian, ranked No. 15, kept his composure to upend Tsitsipas 7-6(6), 7-6(4). “It’s always amazing to be part of the team and have kind of a team feeling — it’s pretty rare on the tour, so I definitely love it and I always feel like I thrive off that atmosphere,” Shapovalov said., “So, yeah, I’m really happy, happy with the result today.”

That triumph clinched Canada’s win in the best-of-three versus Greece, with a doubles match between the quartet of combatants still to be played.

“It’s definitely a huge win for me. Obviously, he had an unbelievable end to the season and he’s definitely one of the top players in the world right now,” Shapovalov said. “He’s got a great game. So to beat a guy like this first match of the year, it’s really special for me. It means a lot.”

Next up, the Canadians take on host Australia on Saturday at 7 p.m. ET. The ATP Cup sees 24 nations contesting in Perth, Brisbane and Sydney over 10 days for the first time and will give the top men’s players a solid platform to prepare for the Australian Open.

To accommodate the $15 million US ATP Cup, which also offers 750 ranking points, the year’s first Grand Slam — the Australian Open — has been pushed back from its usual mid-month start by a week and will kick off at Melbourne Park on Jan. 20.

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