The BMW Canadian Davis Cup Team have clinched a 2-1 victory over Italy in their opening tie of Group F. That’s thanks to wins for Vasek Pospisil and Denis Shapovalov in their singles matches against Fabio Fognini (7-6(5), 7-5) and Matteo Berrettini (7-6(5), 6-7(3), 7-6(5)) respectively.
Pospisil was first up and he got off to a fast start in the opening set, using his signature powerful serve to keep his opponent at bay. The Canadian then forced a break to take a well-deserved lead. Fognini fought back, though, levelling things up at 4-4 following a break of his own.
A double fault by Pospisil then handed the Italian three break point opportunities but he couldn’t take them as the British Columbia native stood firm to pull level and hold his serve. The set would ultimately be decided by a tiebreak, which Pospisil would take thanks to a Fognini backhand into the net on set point.
The match remained on serve for the majority of the second set – that is, until Pospisil took a late lead by breaking Fognini after the Italian once again hit into the net on a crucial break point. The 29-year-old then relied on his own solid serve to see out the match and claim a vital first rubber for Canada.
Heading into his match against World No. 8 Berrettini, Shapovalov (No. 15) knew a win would clinch the tie for Canada with a rubber still left to play. The first set was evenly matched as both players held their serve staunchly and it would inevitably take a tiebreak to separate them. In a tense exchange, both competitors played some terrific tennis but it was Shapovalov who came out on top 7-5.
Much like the first set, the second was neck and neck throughout and, again, it required a tiebreak to settle the score. Unfortunately, on this occasion, Shapovalov couldn’t prevail as Berrettini’s strong forehand led him to a 7-3 win.
There was vocal support for both players throughout the match, but it seemed to get even louder in the third and deciding set. Fans of Canada and Italy were treated to another close one as it remained on serve and went to another tiebreak. Shapovalov showed tremendous composure to stand up strongly to Berrettini’s serve and claim a crucial 7-5 victory.
What a moment for @denis_shapo and Team Canada.
— Tennis Canada (@TennisCanada) November 18, 2019
In doubles, Pospisil and Shapovalov teamed up to take on their singles opponents, Fognini and Berrettini. However, this time the Canadians were on the losing side. After dropping the first set 6-2, they mounted a strong comeback in the second, claiming it 6-3. The third set was decided by a single break, which went the way of Italy as they came away with the win.
Canada will now face the United States in their second Group F tie on Tuesday knowing that a win will seal their place in the tournament’s quarter-finals.