Underdogs going into the Davis Cup World Group Playoff against Canada, India ended Day 1 with the tie level and the hosts rattled.
"This was for sure the longest I have been on the court", said Shapovalov after the three hours 52 minute-match. "We were just fortunate enough to get ahead early and stay there".
Ramkumar Ramanathan and Yuki Bhambri had contrasting fortunes in their respective singles encounters as the opening day of the Davis Cup World Group play-off between India and Canada finished 1-1 here. Alas, he did it his way, dropping the third and fourth sets to stretch this one well past midnight Eastern, as a Northlands Coliseum crowd of around 6,000 dwindled by more than half by the time the final service ball was tossed.
"Probably not converting on those two break points when I had it 6-5 and five-all in the second set", said the kid who played college tennis in North Carolina until he made a decision to go on the tour this summer. Of late, both Yuki and Ramkumar have shown encouraging results and thus instil hope that they are capable of pulling off a win over the left-handed Shapovalov.
Denis Shapovalov played Canada out of a major hole on Friday at the Davis Cup. When asked in the post-match interview what he learnt from playing five sets, Shapovalov replied, "I learnt that I don't want to go the limit ever again". Ramanathan took the match 5-7, 7-6 (4), 7-5, 7-5. Bhambri should take a lot of heart out of the defeat but would do well to up the ante. 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.
Earlier in the day, Ramanathan gave India the advantage after overcoming a jittery start.
Shapovalov eventually won the second set 6-4, putting Canada in a good position to level the tie. Though Shapovalov won the first two sets, Bhambri fought back, forcing a fifth and decisive set in the near four-hour match before Shapovalov finally came up with the victory. "It was my first (best of five game)", Schnur said after the match. "We only had best-of-threes in college". India's non-playing captain Mahesh Bhupathi was forced to pair Rohan Bopanna with Purav Raja instead of Myneni, whose fitness to last five sets has come under scanner.
Pospisil is likely to be Canada's second representative in the singles.