With Brayden Schnur and Denis Shapovalov splitting singles results on Day 1, all eyes turned to Daniel Nestor and Vasek Pospisil in Saturday’s doubles rubber. The Canadian duo sought a 2-1 lead for Team Canada over India in the Davis Cup World Group Play-off tie.
Nestor/Pospisil have not won a doubles rubber in Davis Cup since defeating Go Soeda/Yasutaka Uchiyama (JPN) in 2015. They last played in Ottawa this past February, falling in four sets to Jamie Murray/Dominic Inglot (GBR).
Bopanna won a doubles rubber earlier this year against Uzbekistan to help India progress to the play-offs against Canada. Raja has not played a Davis Cup tie since 2013.
The lack of team play and a Pospisil’s lingering back injury did not hamper the Canadians in the third rubber of this Davis Cup tie. Nestor/Pospisil defeated Bopanna/Raja 7-5, 7-5, 5-7, 6-3.
The Canadians went untroubled on serve in the first set, cruising through their service games without facing a break point. Up 6-5, 0-40, they were able to capitalize on their third break opportunity as Bopanna double faulted to end the set 7-5.
The teams traded four consecutive breaks to begin the second set. Into the latter stages of the set the Canadians broke India at love up 6-5 to capture the second and take a 2 sets to love lead.
Controversy hit the Canadians in the third set. Even at 3-3, Nestor serving down break point, the umpire called a first serve penalty for a second time violation by Team Canada. Nestor netted a his serve to hand India the break. The Canadians bounced back in the following game – Raja hit Team India’s tenth double fault of the match to get on even terms at 4-4.
Nestor/Pospisil would earn their first match point on Bopanna’s serve at 5-4, but Team India pulled out a tough hold to get to 5-5. With Nestor serving, Team India would earn another three break opportunities on the Canadian’s serve and convert on their second opportunity. Raja would serve out the third set 7-5 for Team India.
On serve at 2-1, Nestor hit a forehand return winner cross-court to break Raja’s serve and give Canada a 3-1 advantage in the set. Pospisil stepped up to the line at 5-3 and served out the win in four sets and put Team Canada one win away from remaining in World Group in 2018.
Canada is now within one win of staying in the Davis Cup World Group. On Sunday, Denis Shapovalov will play Ramkumar Ramanathan at 1 p.m. MT, followed by Brayden Schnur vs. Yuki Bhambri.