Denis Shapovalov earns win, Canada even with India at Davis Cup tie

Canadian Challenge awaits India in the Davis Cup World Group Playoff

Canadian Challenge awaits India in the Davis Cup World Group Playoff

The first blow is half the battle.

Bopanna and Raja, who will play only his second Davis Cup tie, will take on seasoned Daniel Nestor and Pospisil. However, the Canadians could also play with Brayden Schnur, who would like to make a grand Davis Cup debut if given a chance.

With experienced Vasek Pospisil unavailable for singles duties because of a bad back, Canada fielded two players who had never won a live Davis Cup rubber - a baptism by fire which could have led to a 2-0 lead for India.

Denis Shapovalov defeated Yuki Bhambri 7-6 (2), 6-4, 6-7 (8), 4-6, 6-1 in a marathon match that lasted almost four hours as Canada leveled the Davis Cup World Group Play-off tie 1-1 on Friday.

"Boys played with a lot of heart the plan was to fight regardless of the score and Ram swung a losing battle and Yuki nearly did too", said India captain Mahesh Bhupathi.

Up two sets and in total control, the 18-year-old would end up playing the first five set match of his career, a memory that will linger on account of his dominant form in the final set.

Shapovalov is now ranked 51st in the world, while Bhambri is 157th. A previous version implied that Shapovalov beat Nadal at the U.S. Open. However, on Friday, Bhambri kept up with the favourite, even as the lefty came out blasting with the flashy game that has made the hockey nation sit down and take notice.

It was a bit of vindication for Shapovalov, who in some ways caused the necessity of the tie with India when he slapped a loose ball in frustration and broke an orbital bone of chair umpire Arnaud Gabas during the deciding match of the series against Great Britain in February in Ottawa, getting banished as Canada lost 3-2. The Indian -eight months older to his rival and ranked 154 -then saved three break points in the 10th game of the second set before taking it in the tiebreak.

He won the first set and was in an excellent position to win the second.

"Just playing No. 1 (as the top ranked player) for Canada, it's new, and I haven't played too many Davis Cup ties".

Denis Shapovalov took a 3-1 lead after breaking Yuki Bhambri early in the set.

But where he should have pressed on, Bhambri opted for a long bathroom break which gave Shapovalov a precious few minutes to recover and talk strategy with captain Martin Laurendeau. I think that is what's impressing a lot of the coaches and players on tour.

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