Denis Shapovalov to open the tie for Canada on Friday followed by Felix Auger-Aliassime
Bratislava, January 31, 2019 – On Thursday, the official draw ceremony for the Davis Cup by BNP Paribas Qualifier between Canada and Slovakia was held to determine the weekend’s matchups. The squads are set to square off on an indoor clay court at NTC Arena in Bratislava on February 1 and 2, with the winner advancing to the Davis Cup Finals in Madrid this November.
Led by captain Frank Dancevic, Félix Auger-Aliassime, Peter Polansky and Denis Shapovalov will take on Slovakia in two singles matches on Friday, two reverse singles matches on Saturday and a doubles match.
Auger-Aliassime and Shapovalov were selected by Dancevic to play in singles, while Slovakian captain Dominik Hrbaty appointed World No. 38 Martin Klizan and World No. 219 Filip Horansky. Auger-Aliassime and Shapovalov will join forces in doubles to battle against the Slovakian tandem of Filip Polasek and Igor Zelenay. In 2015, the Canadians teamed up to claim the Junior US Open doubles crown.
“Team Slovakia had to make some choices for their second player. It was obvious that Klizan was going to be their no. 1 player, but they have two guys ranked about the same in Horansky and Gombos. For us, we are mainly going to focus on our strengths, on our game styles and on what we have to do to play well and win three matches,” commented Dancevic after the draw ceremony.
Currently ranked World No. 25, Shapovalov will be making his sixth Davis Cup appearance. His record stands at 5-3. During Canada’s last tie against the Netherlands, Shapovalov came from two sets down to defeat Robin Haase in a five-set thriller. Auger-Aliassime will be playing in his second Davis Cup tie after making his debut in Toronto last September. His first match is slated for tomorrow.
The Qualifier is the second Davis Cup meeting between Canada and Slovakia. The Slovaks won the first 4-1 at IGA Stadium in Montréal back in September 1997. Canada is currently no. 16, and Slovakia sits at no. 29.
It will be an uphill battle for the Canadian squad. The nation’s last win on clay was in 2011 versus Ecuador. And Canada has not won a Davis Cup showdown without Nestor, Raonic or Pospisil on the scoreboard since 2001.
Below is a table of the weekend’s matchups.
|Event||Representing Canada||Representing Slovakia|
|1st singles rubber – Friday, February 1, 5 p.m. (9 a.m. ET)||Denis Shapovalov (World No. 25)||Filip Horansky (World No. 219)|
|2nd singles rubber – Friday, February 1||Félix Auger-Aliassime (World No. 106)||Martin Klizan (World No. 38)|
|3rd singles rubber – Saturday, February 2 – 11 a.m. (5 a.m. ET)||Denis Shapovalov (World No. 25)||Martin Klizan (World No. 38)|
|4th singles rubber – Saturday, February 2||Félix Auger-Aliassime (World No. 106)||Filip Horansky (World No. 219)|
|Doubles rubber – Saturday, February 2||Félix Auger-Aliassime / Denis Shapovalov||Filip Polasek / Igor Zelenay|
The first singles match starts at 3 p.m. local time on Friday, February 1 and will be followed by the second singles face-off. The last two singles confrontations will get underway at 11 a.m. on Saturday, February 2, and the doubles clash will be played afterwards. All the matches are best of three.
Canada is competing in the Davis Cup Qualifiers to earn a spot in the Finals, which will be held in Madrid in November 2019. In keeping with the new Davis Cup format, the Qualifiers pit 12 seeded nations against 12 unseeded countries, and the winners then advance to the Finals. Canada’s victory over the Netherlands last September secured the team’s place among the seeds in this February tie.
The matches will be broadcast live on Sportsnet.