Canada’s Vasek Pospisil celebrates after winning their Davis Cup semifinal doubles match with his partner Denis Shapovalov, against Russia’s Karen Khachanov and Andrey Rublev, in Madrid, Spain, Saturday, Nov. 23, 2019. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)

Canada defeats Russia in thriller to advance to first Davis Cup final

Denis Shapovalov of Richmond Hill, Ont., and Vasek Pospisil of Vernon defeated Russia in semifinal

Canada’s historic run at this year’s Davis Cup continued Saturday with a semifinal win over Russia to put the Canadians into the final at the international tournament for the first time.

Denis Shapovalov of Richmond Hill, Ont., and Vasek Pospisil of Vernon defeated Russia’s Andrey Rublev and Karen Khachanov 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (5) in the deciding doubles match to win the semifinal tie 2-1.

The Canadians will play the winner of the other semi between Spain and Britain in the final on Sunday.

Canada fought back from 0-3 and 2-4 deficits in the tiebreak and earned a minibreak to go up 6-4. The Canadians converted on their second match point when a Pospisil serve was returned wide.

Canada first appeared in a Davis Cup in 1913. The team’s best result was in 2013, when it reached the World Group semifinals before losing 3-2 to Serbia.

Pospisil, the Davis Cup veteran, started the day for Canada with a 6-4, 6-4 loss to Rublev. But Shapovalov, Canada’s top singles player at No. 15, responded by beating No. 17 Khachanov 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 to level the tie.

Pospisil, ranked 150th in the world in singles after missing the first half of 2019 following off-season back surgery, had been steady throughout Canada’s Davis Cup run, winning all but one of his singles matches.

READ MORE: Vernon’s Vasek takes Canada to semifinals

The 29-year-old recorded three major upsets at the Finals, beating No. 12 Fabio Fognini of Italy, No. 36 Reilly Opelka of the United States and No. 48 John Millman of Australia this week.

Pospisil and Shapovalov, who have played every match for Canada this week, are both 5-2 including singles and doubles play.

Montreal’s Felix Auger-Aliassime, ranked No. 21 in the world, was slowed by injury at the start of the Davis Cup and hadn’t played a competitive match since the Shanghai Masters in early October. While Canada said the 19-year-old was cleared to play as early as Thursday’s quarterfinals, team captain Frank Dancevic elected to ride the hot hand in Pospisil against Australia and again versus Russia.

Rublev, No. 23, got the best of Pospisil early Saturday, breaking the Canadian three times to take the opening singles match in straight sets. Pospisil had 28 winners — including 15 aces — but was done in by 32 unforced errors.

Shapovalov evened the tie with a nearly two-hour long match to set up the decisive doubles. Shapovalov fired 11 aces to Khachanov’s six, but double-faulted six times. The Canadian converted on 3-of-5 break points and saved 5-of-7.

Two-time champion Russia was trying to make it to the final for the first time in 12 years.

Canada has been snapping losing streaks all tournament long.

The Canadian quarterfinal win on Thursday snapped a string of nine previous Davis Cup defeats to Australia.

Canada also ended a losing run of 15 meetings against the United States, a team it had never beaten in the Davis Cup before this year.

The new Davis Cup Finals is being played in World Cup-style with all 18 teams playing in a single venue in the same week.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Peggy Ardnt (left) and Ed Ardnt (right) present the symbolic first poppy to Harrison Hot Springs Mayor Leo Facio. This presentation is traditional across Canada to share awareness of the poppy campaign leading up to Remembrance Day on Nov. 11. (Adam Louis/Observer)
Agassiz Legion presents first symbolic poppies

Local dignitaries accepted the poppies, continuing a long-standing tradition

Left to right: Sardis Kiwanis Club President Bruce Oakley with nominator Peter Somers, Sovereign’s Medal recipient Brian Cleaver, nominator Derek Fryer and nominator Peter Brown. (Submitted photo)
Chilliwack’s Brian Cleaver wins Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers

Cleaver is a long-time member of the Sardis Kiwanis Club and a strong advocate for Special Olympics

Former Chilliwack-Kent BC Liberal MLA Barry Penner, pictured here in 2016 when he was the outgoing chair of the ICBC board of directors, said the BC Liberals have a lot of work to recover from the Oct. 24, 2020 election defeat. (Black Press File)
BC VOTES 2020: Former Chilliwack-Kent MLA Barry Penner opines on BC Liberal future

‘There isn’t enough room on the political spectrum … for two free-enterprise parties’

New Chilliwack restaurant moving into supposedly haunted Nowell Street location

Many restaurants have come and gone, Twisted Thistle the most recent, at Nowell and Princess Ave

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, Oct. 26, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count jumps by 287, another senior home outbreak

Two more deaths recorded, community outbreak in Okanagan

An untitled Emily Carr painting of Finlayson Point was donated to the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria by brothers Ian and Andrew Burchett. The painting had been in their family for several decades. (Courtesy of the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria)
Never before seen painting by famed B.C. artist Emily Carr gifted to Victoria gallery

Painting among several donated to Art Gallery of Greater Victoria

The B.C. Centre for Disease control is telling people to keep an eye out for the poisonous death cap mushroom, which thrives in fall weather conditions. (Paul Kroeger/BCCDC)
Highly poisonous death cap mushroom discovered in Comox

This marks first discovery on Vancouver Island outside Greater Victoria area

100 Mile Conservation officer Joel Kline gingerly holds an injured but very much alive bald eagle after extracting him from a motorist’s minivan. (Photo submitted)
Rescued bald eagle that came to life in B.C. man’s car had lead poisoning

Bird is on medication and recovering in rehab centre

Janet Austin, lieutenant governor of B.C., was presented with the first poppy of the Royal Canadian Legion’s 2020 Poppy Campaign on Wednesday. (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)
PHOTOS: B.C. Lieutenant Governor receives first poppy to kick off 2020 campaign

Janet Austin ‘honour and a privileged’ to receive the poppy

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Stock photo
Pair’s lawsuit dismissed against Fraser Valley soccer association and churches

Judge in Abbotsford calls claims against 14 defendants ‘an abuse of the court’s process’

Premier-elect John Horgan and cabinet ministers are sworn in for the first time at Government House in Victoria, July 18, 2017. (Arnold Lim/Black Press)
Pandemic payments have to wait for B.C. vote count, swearing-in

Small businesses advised to apply even if they don’t qualify

Most Read