World No. 1 Novak Djokovic and Serbian teammate Filip Krajinovic came back to beat Canadians Milos Raonic and Denis Shapovalov in a deciding doubles match at the ATP Cup on Tuesday.
The Serbian duo topped Raonic and Shapovalov 7-5, 7-6(4) to win the tie 2-1, with the doubles match going one hour 37 minutes in Melbourne.
Raonic took the opening match of the Australian Open tune-up tournament against Dusan Lajovic to give Canada a 1-0 lead. The 30-year-old from Thornhill, Ont., fired 11 aces to beat his opponent 6-3, 6-4 in one hour 19 minutes.
But the veteran Djokovic evened it up for the defending champions when he downed Shapovalov 7-5, 7-5, needing one hour 53 minutes to beat the 21-year-old Canadian.
Djokovic improved to 6-0 all-time against the Richmond Hill, Ont., native, including a victory last year in the quarterfinals of the ATP Cup.
The inaugural event was played last year in Brisbane, Perth and Sydney. But because of restrictions in place for the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2021 edition is being played entirely at Melbourne Park, site of the Australian Open, which starts Feb. 8.
The 12 teams have been divided into four pools for group stage, round-robin play. The four group winners will advance to the semifinals.
Canada faces Germany Tuesday to conclude group play, and needs a victory to have any chance of advancing.
A country’s position within its group is determined by ties won, then matches won, and then sets and games won percentages unless two or more teams are tied, in which case a head-to-head win takes precedence over matches won.
Group B consists of Spain, Greece and Australia. France, Austria and Italy make up Group C. And Group D consists of Russia, Argentina, Japan.