Canada’s quest for another Junior Davis Cup title fell just short on Sunday, as the team lost 2-1 to Russia in a final that went to the deciding doubles match. Competing in Budapest, the No. 1 seeds and defending champions were looking to win their second consecutive under-16 world championship.
With the final tied at one match apiece, Felix Auger-Aliassime and Chih Chi Huang took on Russians Alen Avidzba and Alexey Zakharov for the title. Down early breaks in both sets, the Canadians couldn’t overcome their opponents and fell by a score of 6-2, 6-4.
It was the first loss of the week for Auger-Aliassime, the only team member who was also part of the 2015 title run. The reigning Junior US Open champion went 9-1 to lead Canada back to the final. On Sunday, with Canada down 0-1 following Nicase Muamba’s opening 6-1, 6-4 loss to Russian Timofey Skatov, the junior world No. 2 put Canada right back in the mix and forced the decider with a 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 triumph over Avidzba.
Canada, captained by Andre Labelle, now adds a silver medal to its trophy case. This is the second time the nation has earned a runner-up finish in Junior Davis Cup, following the 2010 competition.
The team had been looking to become the first country to win back-to-back titles since France in 1992 and 1993. In 2015, Auger-Aliassime, Denis Shapovalov, and Benjamin Sigouin teamed up to win Canada’s first-ever Junior Davis Cup title. In the 12 months since then, Canadians have claimed two Slam championships, courtesy of Shapovalov at Wimbledon and Auger-Aliassime at the US Open.
In Junior Fed Cup action, Canada ousted Czech Republic on Sunday to earn a fifth-place finish. Captained by Nathalie Tauziat and led by Bianca Andreescu, the world No. 7 and Junior US Open semifinalist, the squad posted a 2-1 victory.
After Layne Sleeth dropped a 6-2, 6-1 decision to Czech Karolina Berankova, Andreescu captured both her singles and doubles matches, teaming with Isabelle Boulais, to give Canada the win. First, she defeated Denisa Hindova 6-4, 6-3, before she and Boulais handily won 6-2, 6-3 in doubles opposite Berankova and Radka Buzkova.
The Junior Davis Cup and Fed Cup by BNP Paribas is the international tennis team competition for the under-16 age category. A total of 169 teams from 96 countries took part in regional qualifying in 2016, with the top 15 teams and host Hungary making it to this week’s Junior Davis Cup and Fed Cup finals. The finals were played on outdoor clay in Budapest.