The BMW Canadian Davis Cup team has punched its ticket to the quarter-finals in Madrid. Victories for Vasek Pospisil over Reilly Opelka (7-6, 7-6) and Denis Shapovalov over Taylor Fritz (7-6, 6-3) ensured they also claimed a first Davis Cup victory over the United States in the process.
Pospisil, ranked No. 150, battled to defend three break points early in the first set before manufacturing two of his own a few games later. The 6-foot-11 Opelka (No. 36) wriggled out of danger on both occasions, however, relying on his devastating serve to win the game.
The first set remained on serve and would eventually be decided by a tiebreak. Pospisil raced out to a commanding 5-0 lead, including two mini breaks, and – despite Opelka threatening a comeback – closed out the set 7-6(5).
The Canadian had to keep his concentration razor sharp in the second set. A barrage of practically un-returnable serves from Opelka meant Pospisil was under immense pressure to hold on his own. He managed to do so and force yet another tiebreak. Again, the British Columbia native kept his nerve – this time taking the win 7-6(7).
Shapovalov (No. 15) and Fritz (No. 32) exchanged breaks to begin their match and it looked like a frantic first set could be on the cards. That wasn’t the case, though, as both players held their serves to send it to a tiebreak – Canada’s seventh in these Finals so far. Fritz took an early 2-0 lead but Shapovalov fought back to take it 7-6(6).
The Canadian made his move early in the second set, setting up two break points with a delicious backhand down the line. He would take the first of those break points, forcing Fritz into hitting a routine shot wide. From there on in, Shapovalov was in cruise control as he glided to a 6-3 victory.
Canada gave a walkover to the United States in doubles action, meaning the tie ended 2-1. The Group F winners will play their quarter-final at 12 p.m. ET on Thursday.