Canada defended well, but fell 2-1 in its first ATP Cup group stage clash against Serbia on Monday in Australia.
Milos Raonic got the maple leaf off to a good start when he defeated Dusan Lajovic in two sets of 6-3, 6-4, in the first singles match of the day. True to form, the great tennis player used his devastating service to lay down the law.
The 30-year-old had 11 aces, compared to just two for his opponent. Raonic didn’t put as many first balls in play as Lajovic (67% vs. 80%), but he made sure those count, winning 91% of the rally on his first serve.
He took two breaks from his Serbian opponent, also being dominant in reception.
In the other singles match, Denis Shapovalov logically bowed to world number one Novak Djokovic in two identical 7-5 innings.
The young Canadian, however, gave his money to the “Djoker”, who had to wait until the last games of each set to save himself with the break in service. The Serbian mostly faced nine aces, although he was unable to produce a single one.
Despite the power of his serve, “Shapo” faced six break points. Balls in hand, Djokovic gave the 21-year-old no chance to steal his serve.
In the decisive duel, the doubles clash, the Raonic / Shapovalov duo were defeated by a pair of Djokovic and Filip Krajinovic in two sets of 7-5 and 7-6 (4).
Serbs and Canadians have crossed paths in this competition before, just last year. With the Quebecois Félix Auger-Aliassime, the maple leaf had lost by the mark of 3 to 0 against the possible champions, in the quarterfinals.
This year, the ATP Cup is taking place three weeks later than usual, due to the pandemic. The 2021 edition notably allows players to prepare for the Australian Open. The competition takes place in the facilities of the grand slam tournament.
For its second round robin match, Canada will face Germany on Tuesday.