2019 Davis Cup Finals: Canada defeats the U.S., 2-1; First Team to Clinch Quarterfinal Berth
(November 19, 2019) The Canadian Davis Cup team was back on the courts barely 18 hours later to take on the United States on Tuesday in Group F play at the Davis Cup Finals.. Canada triumphed 2-1 to enter the quarterfinals of the Davis Cup Finals, which are underway at Caja Magica in Madrid until November 24.
For the second showdown, captain Frank Dancevic once again chose Denis Shapovalov (No. 15 ) and Vasek Pospisil (No. 150) to play in singles. US captain Mardy Fish brought in Taylor Fritz (No. 32) and Reilly Opelka (No. 36).
Pospisil posted his second victory in two days over a member of the Top 40. He won against his towering 6’11” opponent Opelka. Currently ranked World No. 150, the 29-year-old Canadian gave the nation its first point at the outcome of a match with no break points 7-6(5), 7-6(7). Pospisil was strong in the key moments, taking 5-0 and 5-2 leads in the tiebreakers. With the win, he brings his total Davis Cup conquests to 19.
“When I came back from injury, I never thought I could play at this level. To be honest, my goal was to finish the year healthy,” said Pospisil afterwards. “I was optimistic but I never thought it would be this fast. I’m playing great tennis in the last few months and my body feels as good as it probably felt in years”.
“He played really well,” noted Opelka. “He played great. Thought I did my part, played well, served well, and I put myself in a position to win. He was just too good.”
“It’s a new experience for me,” said Opelka, who was making his Davis Cup debut. “Something I can still improve and get used to. I think I did
everything my way this week. And like I said, it just came down to a few points.
Next up was Shapovalov, who seized Canada’s winning point by overpowering Taylor Fritz in two sets (7-6(6), 6-3). The Canadian No.1 was constant at the baseline and managed to avoid Fritz’s forehand. Shapovalov started out with a breakpoint, but the American battled back all the way to a tiebreaker—the fourth the Canadian had to play in as many sets this week. After taking the first set, a confident Shapovalov coasted to victory.
“I feel like I’m in great shape and I’m playing great tennis. I’m very happy with the matches I’ve played here so far,” affirmed Shapovalov. “I felt like today I was struggling with my serve a little bit but I felt solid from the grounds and also with my returns. Hopefully, I can keep that up and bring it to the quarterfinals.”
For Fritz, it was his Davis Cup debut.
“The first set was obviously really small margins, then I just dropped my serve in the second set, had chances to break back, didn’t really make it happen,” he said. “It’s extremely disappointing because I felt like I definitely could have won, and it would have been big for the team. The goal is always to put it on our doubs guys because we have the best doubles pair in the world on our team. It’s really disappointing not being able to do it for them. Yeah, I definitely had chances in the tiebreaker, up a mini break twice. I definitely don’t typically lose a breaker from that situation, being up a mini break twice. But I just couldn’t really make it happen on my serve. So it sucks.”
“Our players played with heart again today, but it was hard on their bodies. We have a few injuries to take care of but nothing too serious. There was a risk of more serious injury and that’s why we didn’t play the doubles match,” revealed Dancevic. “I’m proud of my players again today. The conditions were tough after yesterday. The Americans were fresh but we got big wins.”
Today’s matches were the first between Canada and the US since 1965. The nations had met 15 times in past, with the Americans winning every time.
The U.S. and Italy will battle on Wednesday to possibly be one of the two top-performing second-place Group teams that earn their way to the Quarterfinal stage. The U.S. will have to win the tie to have a chance at advancing, but the match, set and games could matter as a tiebreaker.
The Canadian squad now has day off before hitting the courts on Thursday in its quarterfinal duel against the winner of Group D, made up of Belgium, Australia and Colombia. At the time of writing, Belgium had defeated Colombia 2-1 and Australia vanquished Colombia 3-0.