Shapovalov, Auger-Aliassime drop doubles opener, Raonic advances in singles


TORONTO — Novak Djokovic and Kevin Anderson defeated Canadian teens Denis Shapovalov and Felix Auger-Aliassime 6-3, 6-2 in first-round doubles action at the Rogers Cup on Monday, while Canada’s Milos Raonic topped David Goffin of Belgium 6-3, 6-4 in singles after heavy rain delayed play for nearly three hours.

Rainfall moved into the area of the York University campus just before 3 p.m. ET, interrupting three matches and causing a location change from centre court to the grand stand for the Canadians’ doubles match against the 2018 Wimbledon champ and runner-up.

Shapovalov, of Richmond Hill, Ont., and Auger-Aliassime of Montreal — doubles partners on the junior circuit years ago and wild-card entries for their hometown tournament — started the match strong before Djokovic and Anderson took control.

They broke Anderson’s serve for a 2-0 lead, to the delight of a tightly packed grand stand crowd. But the Wimbledon finalists team — nicknamed Djokerson thanks to a Twitter poll conducted by Djokovic earlier in the day — broke back to tie the match 2-2, and again to go up 5-3. Both breaks were on Auger-Aliassime serves.

Anderson and Djokovic won five straight games, going up two breaks, to win the second set.

No. 30 Raonic of Thornhill, Ont., started his night match against 10th-seeded Goffin on centre court roughly 30 minutes after the doubles match started on the grand stand.

Raonic, too, got off to a hot start, breaking his Belgian opponent for a 4-1 lead in the first set.

The former World No. 3, who’s battled numerous injuries over the past two seasons, used his powerful serve to his advantage. He fired 13 aces to Goffin’s two and won 100 per cent of his first-service points.

Raonic will play the winner of a match between American Frances Tiafoe and Italy’s Marco Cecchinato.

Vancouver’s Vasek Pospisil and Borna Coric of Croatia played the late match on centre court.

Shapovalov and Auger-Aliassime appeared to be having fun throughout their match, with Shapovalov flashing his teammate a smile after they accidentally bumped into each other while chasing a deep shot in the first set.

The Canadians double-faulted three times and won just 50 per cent of their service games.

Shapovalov, at No. 26, is the top Canadian in the men’s singles draw. He was No. 143 before last year’s Rogers Cup.

The 19-year-old plays Jeremy Chardy of France Tuesday.

Auger-Aliassime, a Montreal native who will turn 18 on Wednesday, is No. 134. He will make his Rogers Cup main draw debut Tuesday against Lucas Pouille of France.

Russian qualifier Daniil Medvedev upset 13th-seeded Jack Sock 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 in one of the three rain-interrupted afternoon matches. American Bradley Klahn topped Spain’s David Ferrer 7-6, 6-4 and Pierre-Hughes Herbert of France beat Spaniard Albert Ramos-Vinolas 4-6, 6-3, 6-4.

Earlier Monday, Thornhill, Ont., native Peter Polansky, a wild-card entry playing in the morning draw, defeated Matthew Ebden of Australia 7-6 (3), 6-4. He will play the winner of a match between Djokovic and Hyeon Chung of South Korea in the second round.

The 30-year-old Polansky, who is ranked No. 121 in the world, has never advanced past the second round of the Rogers Cup.

He squeaked out a victory against his 52nd-ranked opponent in the first set by winning the tiebreak 7-3.

“It was actually really big,” Polansky said of the tiebreak win. “He was serving great and I wasn’t expecting to go up by so much early on.”

Polansky also took a close second set, which included a seventh game with seven deuces before Polansky held serve.

“I think if I got broken there, the momentum would have turned in his favour quite,” Polansky said.

Polansky finished the match with six aces Ebden’s 12. But Polansky won 83 per cent of his first-serve points and 62 per cent off his second serve.

In other men’s first-round action, Benoit Paire of France downed Jared Donaldson 6-3, 6-4 and Ilya Ivashka of Belarus defeated Yuichi Sugita of Japan 6-2, 6-3.