Home Tennis Canada sweeps singles to claim first Davis Cup

Canada sweeps singles to claim first Davis Cup

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MALAGA, Spain. Felix Auger-Aliassime fell on his back behind the endline and then waited for teammates to jump off the Canadian bench and pile on top of him.

A few minutes later, the Canadians were finally able to lift the Davis Cup.

“I think of all of us here, we dreamed of this moment,” Auger-Aliassime said.

Canada won the title for the first time on Sunday, beating Australia after victories by Denis Shapovalov and Auger-Aliassime.

Auger-Aliassime scored the game-winner when he knocked out Alex de Minor 6-3, 6-4 after Shapovalov opened the day by beating Thanasi Kokkinakis 6-2, 6-4.

Seven years after Auger-Aliassime, Shapovalov and their teammates led Canada to the pinnacle of junior tennis, they have finally lifted the biggest team trophy in their sport.

“We wanted to grow up, be part of the team and try to help the country win the first title,” Shapovalov said, “that’s why everything is so surreal right now.”

Shapovalov lost both of his singles matches this week and needed back treatment during a three-set loss in Saturday’s semi-final to Lorenzo Sonego of Italy, which lasted 3 hours and 15 minutes. But on Sunday, the left-hander moved quickly around the court, setting corners to push winners off while aiming for a 4-0 lead in the first set.

Auger-Aliassime then ended his excellent second half of the season, ending a perfect week in Spain. He kept the Canadians alive twice after Shapovalov lost the first match in singles, and on Saturday he replaced his weary teammate by joining Vasek Pospisil to score the decisive doubles point.

This time, Auger-Aliassime made sure that the doubles match was not even necessary. After his teammates entered the court to celebrate with him, they stood up and danced in circles.

Canada has only reached the final once, losing the spot to Spain in Madrid in 2019 when Rafael Nadal beat Shapovalov in a decisive moment after Auger-Aliassime lost in the first leg.

But since Auger-Aliassime has risen to 6th in the rankings, the Canadians have become a much more formidable team. They won the Davis Cup in January and finally added the Davis Cup crown to the Davis Cup junior title that Auger-Aliassime and Shapovalov led in 2015.

Australia were in contention for their 29th title and the first time since current captain Lleyton Hewitt was part of the team that won the title in 2003.

But it’s finally time for the Canadians, who were given a chance to take the field when Russia was sidelined due to the invasion of Ukraine.

“Look, I think we were really close today,” de Minor said. “Just wait until next time we get the same match. I hope we can win and prove we can do it.”

But it will be difficult to beat Canada while Auger-Aliassime and Shapovalov are playing.

Shapovalov is only 23 years old, and Auger-Aliassime is 22, but both of them have already been Grand Slam semi-finalists. Auger-Aliassime ended 2022 as one of the hottest players on the ATP Tour. He has won all four of his titles this year, including three consecutive weeks in October.

He had also beaten Carlos Alcaraz at the previous Davis Cup in September, just after the Spaniard won the US Open and moved up to number one in the rankings. The victory helped the Canadians reach the quarter-finals, which they started this week with a win over Germany.

“They are no longer children, that’s for sure. Not after today — well, not after the last two years,” said Pospisil, a 32-year veteran of the team. “They crushed him.”



Source: www.espn.com