India vs Canada, Davis Cup Day 1: Honours even, hosts rattled

Denis Shapovalov of Canada serves to Alexander Zverev of Germany during the semifinals at the Rogers Cup tennis tournament Saturday

Canadian Challenge awaits India in the Davis Cup World Group Playoff

However, the Canadians could also play with Brayden Schnur, who would like to make a grand Davis Cup debut if given a chance.

Due to injury to Vasek Pospisil, Canada sent two Canadian tennis players, aged 18 and 22 into the fire - two kids who had never won a Davis Cup match before.

Shapovalov is now ranked 51st in the world, while Bhambri is 157th.

Shapovalov, perhaps Canada's hottest rising sports personality at the moment, won a three hour and 52 minute marathon to salvage a draw for Canada on Day 1 of this Davis Cup tie versus India, blowing a two sets to zero lead before overpowering Yuki Bhambri 6-1 in the final set to win 7-6, 6-4, 6-7, 4-6, 6-1. 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. He ran down the groundstrokes and kept putting one more ball back, stretching the rallies by playing to the backhand.

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The pairing of Nestor and Pospiisil now hold a 6-4 record when playing together in doubles on the Davis Cup stage. Interestingly, during Canada's last tie against Great Britain, it was Pospisil, who had won both his singles rubbers.

An early break in the fifth set again shifted the momentum in Shapovalov's favour.

Schnur won the first set before dropping the next three.

"First of all, I had a lot of fun out there". The Canadian found his mojo after breaking Yuki in the third and broke him again in the sixth game to take a 5-1 cushion and clinched the issue with a crushing forehand victor.

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As far as the singles is concerned, Denis Shapovalov - who set the tennis the world alight by taking out Rafael Nadal at the Montreal Masters - would be the man on whose soldiers the Canadian hopes rely. Bhambri should take a lot of heart out of the defeat but would do well to up the ante.

Earlier in the day, Ramanathan gave India the advantage after overcoming a jittery start.

"It was my first one", he said of the best-of-fives. Drafted into the side in the last minute, Raja dropped serve five times in the match, twice while serving under pressure at 5-6 in the first two sets. "We only had best-of-threes in college".

India captain Mahesh Bhupathi has sprung a surprise by teaming up Rohan Bopanna with Purav Raja instead of Saketh Myneni for the doubles rubber, to be played on Saturday.

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Pospisil is likely to be Canada's second representative in the singles.

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