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Auger-Aliassime and Pospisil beat Fognini / Berrettini to send Canada into the final
Felix Auger-Aliassime and Vasek Pospisil clinched the decisive double against Matteo Berrettini and Fabio Fognini on Saturday.
And just like that, they’re back! Three afters after losing the final against Spain, Canada will have a shot at the title again. The Canadians were the heavy favourite this year and did not disappoint, adding incredible suspense to their result sheet. On Saturday, they did a quarter-finals remake by coming from 0-1 to win the whole tie with Felix Auger-Aliassime finding a way to win back-to-back the second single match and the decisive double with Vasek Pospisil.
“I think it came down today to the attitude”, said Pospisil. “I mean, they didn’t play poorly. I thought it was a very high level on both sides in the doubles, and I think we, you know, especially played really well as a team. Our attitude, even when we went down a break early, you know, there was no time to get negative when you’re playing Davis Cup and when it’s a deciding match. I think that allowed us to break back I think in both sets. I think we broke back right away or very quickly after. We played at a really high level I thought throughout the whole match. We were very synchronized.”
As soon as Denis Shapovalov, not only lost but got that back injury, the situation started to look dodgy for the Canadians. But one man today was unable to be denied: Felix Auger-Aliassime, who doesn’t seem one bit tired from his great end of the season but looks actually more confident than ever.
He won his single in straight sets and then did more than his share through the double, with a superb forehand return winner to get the break back in the first set (1-3, 3-3) and some huge first serves to save two break points while serving for the match at 6-5 in the second set.
“I’m feeling good”, confirmed “FAA”. “Luckily my singles went perfectly for me, not getting broken, kind of a straightforward match, just like we like them as players. So that went well (smiling). I felt good in the doubles. It’s always good playing with Vasek. The team on the bench was great. I just feel like in Davis Cup there is no time to get tired. You have to look at the effort Denis gave today also, playing over three hours. Never showing any signs of fatigue or giving up, so that’s the kind of spirit you want.”
As for Vasek Pospisil, he proved as needed in that semi-final as he did in the quarter-final: one of the best double players in the world, he’s just absolutely lethal on that quick indoor court. His double experience and his power are the perfect combinations with both young Canadians, Shapovalov and Auger-Aliassime.
As for Italy, they will of course walk away with some huge regrets as they were up a break in both sets (3-1, 2-0) but couldn’t find a way to keep their lead. They came back from 0-30 at 4-4 in the second set, still fired up, but Fognini had a sloppy service game at 5-6 and despite the revolt when back on the wall, they ended up losing the battle.
It might have also played a part in the overall result that Simone Bolelli, was a last-minute no-show on that court due to an injury, leaving the previously injured Matteo Berrettini to try to lead the way with Fabio Fognini. Bolelli and Fognini had qualified the team for the semi-finals and are very much used to playing together. Vasek Pospisil and Felix-Auger Aliassime may have to play again together on Sunday against Australia, depending on how Denis Shapovalov is recovering.
“I’m going to do everything I can tomorrow to try to win the singles and ease the pressure a little bit for Felix and for the rest of us”, said Shapovalov. “For sure, I played two tough matches and I have been there in both. I just haven’t been able to get the win, but, I mean, I think I have been playing well. The level is really high. There are a lot of positives.”
Canada showed again today how hungry they all were to clinch the first Davis Cup title of their country’s history. “Guys came out in the doubles and just played amazing tennis”, praised captain Frank Dancevic. “The whole team, everybody from the staff to the players, everybody was just an amazing team effort. That got us through today. I’m so proud of this team and so proud of the guys, what they have accomplished, and, you know, we are going to celebrate a bit tonight, for sure, but we have another match tomorrow. That’s the ultimate goal is to win the cup, and that’s what we are dialed in to do.”