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By Richard Pagliaro | Sunday, February 5, 2017

Kyle Edmund

Kyle Edmund held a 6-3, 6-4, 2-1 lead when 17-year-old Denis Shapovalov was defaulted for belting a ball that hit the chair umpire in the left eye.

Photo credit: @DavisCup

A decisive Davis Cup match came to a bizarre conclusion on a Denis Shapovalov default.

Great Britain’s Kyle Edmund held 6-3, 6-4, 2-1 lead over Shapovalov in the decisive fifth match today when the 234th-ranked Canadian belted a ball in frustration that hit chair umpire Arnaud Gabas in the left eye.

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A mortified Shapovalov raised his arms in a gesture of apology over the accidental head shot, while chair umpire Gabas, whose left eye was bruised and reddened by the blow, tried to shake it off.

Referee Brian Earley came out on the court and consulted with the chair umpire, who was treated with an ice bag over his eye.

Gabas announced a dejected Shapovalov, who was sitting on his court-side seat with his head in his hands, had been defaulted, concluding a 78-minute match, bringing an abrupt end to the tie and leaving some Canadian fans looking stunned. 

The default clinched Great Britain’s 3-2 victory over host Canada at the The Arena at TD Place in Ottawa.

Gabas was taken to Ottawa General Hospital for precautionary evaluation, the International Tennis Federation announced. He suffered a black eye, but is expected to be fine.

“Obviously, a bit of a surprise of what happened at the end there,” British Davis Cup captain Leon Smith said. “And it’s a shame that it’s happened that way. And I feel for the young lad because, you know, he’s a great talent and he’s learned a harsh lesson today.

“What I would say is I thought Kyle from what we saw Friday to come out today okay againt a lower-ranked player he was absolutely fantastic. The way he prepared for the match, how he commanded the points, unbelievable serving and applying pressure on returns. I thought it was a great performance.”

The 17-year-old Shapovalov, the 2016 Wimbledon boys' champion, was contesting his third career Davis Cup match.

Great Britain, the 2015 Davis Cup champion, advanced to the April 7-9th quarterfinals where it will play host France. Les Bleus beat Japan, playing without its top player, Kei Nishikori, 4-1 in Tokyo.


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