MALAGA, Spain –
After stepping into the final rounds via the again door, Canada is now headed to the Davis Cup championship tie for the second time in the final three tournaments.
Montreal’s Felix Auger-Aliassime erased Denis Shapovalov’s defeat in the primary match of Saturday’s semifinal tie in opposition to Italy by profitable his singles. The world No. 6 then teamed up in doubles with Vasek Pospisil as a late substitution to provide Canada a 2-1 victory.
Canada will face Australia on Sunday (7 a.m. ET), with the profitable nation taking dwelling the enduring trophy and sharing the winner’s prize of US$2.5 million.
“I’m so happy with this staff and so happy with the blokes, what they’ve achieved,” captain Frank Dancevic stated in the staff’s post-match convention. “We are going to rejoice a bit tonight, for certain, however we now have one other match tomorrow. The final aim is to win the Cup, and that is what we’re dialled in to do.”
Canada misplaced its qualifying tie in opposition to the Netherlands earlier in the yr and solely superior to the final rounds as a “fortunate loser” after the withdrawal of defending champion Russia from worldwide competitors.
The Canadians, led by an in-form Auger-Aliassime, then swept South Korea 3-0 and upset Spain 2-1 in group play to advance to the knockout stage and a quarterfinal match in opposition to Germany.
This would be the eleventh time Canada and Australia have met in Davis Cup, however solely the second time since 1964.
They met 9 occasions between 1914 and 1964 — with Australia profitable each time. Seven of these ties had been performed in Montreal, and all however one was a 5-0 sweep for Australia in the previous five-match, best-of-five-set format.
But Canada received the final one, in the quarterfinals of the 2019 match in Madrid en path to an look in the final, the place the Canadians misplaced to Spain.
As Auger-Aliassime left the court docket after his 6-3, 6-4 singles victory over Italian No. 1 Lorenzo Musetti, he stated he was able to play doubles.
He did not know if he can be wanted. But after a 7-6, (4), 6-7 (5), 6-4, three-hour, 15-minute singles loss to Lorenzo Sonego in the day’s opening singles, throughout which he needed to have his higher again handled by the Tennis Canada physio, Shapovalov did not have a lot left.
He already had performed an extended three-setter in singles and one other in doubles in a win Thursday over Germany to get Canada into the semifinals.
So Dancevic substituted in Auger-Aliassime, more energizing and in effective type.
In a extra shocking transfer, Italian captain Filippo Volandri changed doubles specialist Simone Bolelli, who had teamed with Fabio Fognini to get rid of the Americans in the quarterfinals, with Matteo Berrettini.
Despite being the highest-ranked participant on the staff, Berrettini was anticipated to be a cheerleader this week. He hadn’t performed since mid-October due to a foot damage.
But Volandri alerted him Saturday that an damage to Bolelli meant he may be wanted. Berrettini tried to organize as a lot as he may, training twice.
It wasn’t sufficient; the Canadians overcame an early break in the second set and received 7-6 (2), 7-5 to clinch the tie.
The celebration was comparatively muted, the job nonetheless not full.
“We knew coming into this week that we may make some modifications relying on how singles went. And I simply felt like the entire staff related round this concept; there was no ego in the incorrect locations,” Auger-Aliassime stated. “Everybody simply has a transparent concept of the primary aim, which is lifting the Cup (Sunday).”
Auger-Aliassime proved a reliable, certain factor in singles this week.
He defeated Oscar Otte in two shut units on Thursday in the quarterfinals to even the tie at 1-1 and provides Shapovalov and Pospisil a possibility to win it.
And on Saturday in opposition to the proficient Musetti, he got here via as soon as once more.
The 6-3, 6-4 victory took lower than 90 minutes. And as soon as once more, Auger-Aliassime was dominant on serve.
He received 30-of-33 factors together with his first serve, and by no means confronted a break level.
Musetti, higher-ranked than Sonego however seven years youthful, did not react as properly to the high-stakes scenario. The 20-year-old was pressed into service because the No. 1 singles participant after each Berrettini and Jannik Sinner needed to beg off due to damage.
Against an outstanding Sonego, Shapovalov may solely break as soon as in 13 alternatives. The majority of these had been saved by Sonego, not misplaced by the Canadian.
But Shapovalov hit three double faults in two totally different video games, together with in the final sport of the marathon match.
It ended with Shapovalov seemingly trying a serve-volley on a second serve, just for the serve to fall feebly into the underside of the online.
It was at all times going to be a troublesome ask for the 23-year-old from Richmond Hill, Ont, whose ATP Tour season ended with a second-round loss to Pablo Carreno Busta on the Paris Masters again on Nov. 2.
After a fast vacation, he went to Marbella, Spain, and skilled for per week to prepare. But it is a problem to flip the change again on after an extended season.
Shapovalov is hopeful he can put the Canadians forward 1-0, as an alternative of behind, when he opens play in Sunday’s final — probably in opposition to both Thanasi Kokkinakis or Jordan Thompson.
It can be his first assembly in opposition to both participant. But the final lineup will not be identified till an hour earlier than the primary match.
“I really feel fairly good. I’m going to do all the pieces I can tomorrow to attempt to win the singles and ease the stress a little bit bit for Felix and for the remainder of us,” Shapovalov stated. “I performed two robust matches and I’ve been there in each. I simply have not been in a position to get the win, however I feel I’ve been enjoying properly. The stage is basically excessive. There is quite a lot of positives.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first printed Nov. 26, 2022.