The 2023 Canadian Davis Cup team made it very clear that they won’t be going down without a fight in their pursuit of defending their historic title at the tournament.
Tabbed as underdogs to advance to the Final 8 stage, the Canadians shocked the world by not only winning their group but dominating their opponents in all three ties.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: CANADA NEARLY PERFECT IN DAVIS CUP GROUP STAGE
The Canadian team composed of Denis Shapovalov, Vasek Pospisil, Gabriel Diallo, Alexis Galarneau, Kelsey Stevenson and led by captain Frank Dancevic entered the week with a chip on their shoulder, as many figured they’d be hard pressed to escape their group playing against Italy, Chile, and Sweden.
Top-ranked Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime was absent this time around, and despite Shapovalov being on the team, it was clear he was there for moral support as he didn’t appear in a single match while he’s nursing a knee injury. Stevenson was also a last-minute addition to the team by captain Frank Dancevic; he was originally meant to just be a hitting partner for the Canadians in practice, but he also didn’t appear in a match.
That means that world No. 166 Diallo, world No. 188 Pospisil, world No. 202 Galarneau were tasked with helping Canada qualify for the Final 8 stage in Malaga, Spain.
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Canada opened things off against the host nation in front of a jam-packed crowd of Italian fans. Despite the Italians not having top players Jannik Sinner and Matteo Berrettini available, they still boasted an extremely strong team. Galarneau took down world No. 38 Lorenzo Sonego in the opening match of the tie before Diallo dismantled world No. 18 Lorenzo Musetti in the second match. Pospisil and Galarneau then teamed up to win the third match of the day, sweeping the Italians and winning their first tie.
The trio of Canadians repeated their performances against Sweden in the second tie, sweeping them to stay a perfect 6-0. Finally, against Chile, Galarneau clinched Canada’s spot in the Final 8 stage by defeating Alejandro Tabilo in the opening match. Diallo dropped his match against Nicolas Jarry, Canada’s first loss of the week, but Pospisil and Galarneau capped it off with another doubles victory to cap off Canada’s near perfect week.
Australia, Czechia, Finland, Great Britain, Italy, the Netherlands, and Serbia will all compete alongside Canada in the Davis Cup Final 8 stage in Malaga on November 21-26, 2023. The draw will take place on Tuesday morning to determine the quarter-final matchups.
WHAT TO WATCH: CANADIAN WOMEN TAKE GUADALAJARA
The Guadalajara Open got underway yesterday, with five Canadians appearing in the main draw. Leylah Annie Fernandez already defeated Asia Muhammad in her opening match and is set to take on world No. 13 Elise Mertens on Tuesday.
Eugenie Bouchard, who received a wild card entry to the WTA 1000 tournament, won her opening match against Renata Zarazua, and will now face world No. 7 Veronika Kudermetova on Monday afternoon. Bouchard also received a wild card for doubles, teaming up with Navarro Olive.
Carol Zhao and Stacey Fung are also competing in the singles main draw, while recent US Open doubles champion Gabriela Dabrowski is playing in the doubles portion of the tournament with her partner Erin Routliffe as the third seeds. Fernandez and Taylor Townsend have once again teamed up, entering the draw as the second seeds.
The top four seeds of the singles main draw in order are Ons Jabeur, Maria Sakkari, Caroline Garcia, and Madison Keys.
UNDER THE RADAR:
Auger-Aliassime is in Vancouver to take part in the 2023 Laver Cup as part of Team World alongside Taylor Fritz, Frances Tiafoe, Tommy Paul, Ben Shelton, Francisco Cerundolo. Milos Raonic and Christopher Eubanks are serving as alternates, with John McEnroe as team captain. Team Europe is made up of Stefanos Tsitsipas, Andrey Rublev, Sapser Ruud, Hubert Hurkacz, Alejandro Davidovich Fokina, Gael Monfils. Arthur Fils is serving as an alternate, and Bjorn Borg is serving as captain.
The action will take place from Friday, September 22 to Sunday, September 24.
Pospisil, Galarneau and Justin Boulais are in Columbus to take part in the Columbus Challenger, while Steven Diez is in Romania to take part in the ATP Challenger Tour’s BCR Sibiu Open.
Rebecca Marino is in Guangzhou, China for the WTA 125’s Galaxy Holding Group Guangzhou Open and Katherine Sebov and Marina Stakusic are playing in the ITF W60 event in Berkeley, California.
You can follow the Canadians in action every week here.