The BMW Canadian Davis Cup team are semi-finalists in Madrid, ensuring their place in next year’s Davis Cup Finals. Vasek Pospisil had given Canada a 1-0 lead in the quarter-finals against Australia with victory over John Millman (7-6, 6-4) but Denis Shapovalov’s 3-6, 6-3, 7-5 loss to Alex de Minaur meant the tie was finely poised at 1-1. In doubles, the Canadian duo overcame Jordan Thompson and John Peers 6-4, 6-4 to claim a remarkable victory.
It was a tough start for Pospisil (No. 150) as he suffered a break of serve at the first time of asking – Millman taking an early 3-0 lead. However, the Canadian came back strong, holding his following service game before manufacturing three break point opportunities in the next. He took the third after a lengthy rally which concluded with Millman firing into the net.
Neither player could force another break and the first set went to a tiebreak. In an intense, topsy-turvy exchange, it was Pospisil who eventually came out on top, clinching the set with a clutch ace before forcing a Millman error on set point.
The second set remained on serve until the tenth game when Pospisil, up 5-4, worked himself into a position to break and claim the match. A series of powerful shots from both players came to an end when Millman hit wide, handing the Canadian a vital victory.
Shapovalov, ranked a career-high No. 15, seemed to be in the groove against De Minaur (No. 18). The Canadian looked comfortable on the court and was playing with a swagger we’ve become accustomed to over the last few months. He took an early lead in the first set – breaking his Australian opponent to make it 3-1 – and went on to claim it convincingly 6-3.
The second set didn’t start as well as Shapovalov might have liked, though, as a double fault on break point saw him fall to 2-0 deficit. De Minaur played solid tennis to retain his lead throughout the set, closing it out 6-3 to ensure the match went to a third.
There was little to write home about for most of the final set. That was until De Minaur manufactured a 40:0 lead on Shapovalov’s serve in game nine. The Canadian fought back to deuce and ended up surviving the scare to make it 5-4. The Richmond Hill native was unable to do so a second time, though, as De Minaur got the break before serving out the set 7-5 and therefore the match.
In doubles, Pospisil and Shapovalov teamed up to take on John Peers and Jordan Thomson. The Canadians raced out of the blocks, breaking their opponents’ serve in the very first game. They would go on to win the first set 6-4.
The second set started poorly for Canada as they dropped their serve early but they soon fought back to pull level with a break of their own. And they would take a crucial lead in game nine thanks to another break, meaning they would serve for the match. Riding Pospisil’s strong serve, they held their nerve to confirm a 6-4 second-set victory.