Finland shocks USA, Czechs defeat Serbia – Davis Cup Saturday recap
Finland earned its first berth in the last eight at Davis Cup, as Team USA was toppled. Find out who else advanced on Saturday at Davis Cup.
Team USA’s Davis Cup title drought will stretch on another year, thanks to a brilliant performance by upstart Finland on Saturday in Split, Croatia.
Otto Virtanen and Emil Ruusuvuori won singles rubbers to clinch victory on Saturday, then Harri Heliovaara and Patrick Kaukovalta defeated Austin Krajicek and Rajeev Ram to finish the 3-0 whitewashing that eliminated the Americans and sent Finland into the last eight at Davis Cup for the first time.
America’s longest drought without a Davis Cup title continues. The 32-time champions last won the competition in 2007 when they defeated Russian in the final in Portland, Oregon. Their previous longest stint between Davis Cup titles was 12 years.
For a Finland squad that is captained by all-time win leader Jarkko Nieminen, the future looks bright – Virtanen, who saved a pair of match points to defeat Mackenzie McDonald, 7-6(5), 1-6, 7-6(7), is just 22; Ruusuvuori, who edged Tommy Paul, 7-6(1), 6-4, is 24.
The Finns pulled an epic upset of the team with the highest-ranked singles and doubles player in this weekend’s World Group ties.
Czechs take top spot in Group C
Czechia and Serbia are both going to Malaga in November for the knock-out stage of this year’s Davis Cup finals, but it is the Czechs who laid down the marker in a showdown between the groups’ top-two finishers on Saturday in Valencia.
Jakub Mensik and Jiri Lehecka won singles rubbers, while Tomas Machac and Adam Pavlasek handed Novak Djokovic and Nikola Cacic a 7-5 6-7(7) 10-3 loss to complete the sweep.
Canada clinches, Italy stays alive in Group A
Defending champion Canada has been on song all weekend in Bologna, notching shutout wins over Italy and Sweden before taking out Chile 2-1 on Saturday to ensure safe passage to the knock-out stage.
The Canadians were led by Alexis Galarneau, who defeated Alejandro Tabilo, 6-3, 7-6(5) and the doubles tandem of Galarneau and Vasek Pospisil, who clinched the win with a 6-3, 7-6(7) win over Tabilo and Tomas Barrios Vera.
Nicolas Jarry scored the lone point for Chile, defeating Gabriel Diallo, 6-4, 6-4.
Chile’s chances are now slim.
Team Italy dusted itself off after a blanking at the hands of Canada and shut down Chile on Friday to stay in the hunt. Sunday’s tie against Sweden will be crucial for Italy. If the Italians can win one rubber against the Swedes they will join Canada in Malaga… if not, Chile will get the nod.
Aussies lock down final 8
28-time champion Australia will be back in the hunt for No.29 in November after sweeping past Switzerland 3-0 on Saturday. The green and gold, led by stalwart Alex de Minaur (d. Huesler), needed to sweep the Swiss to qualify and they did just that, thanks to wins by De Minaur, Thanasi Kokkinakis (d. Stricker) and the doubles tandem of Max Purcell and Matthew Ebden (d. Huesler and Stricker).
The Aussie were spotless, not dropping a single set, while the Swiss fell to 0-3.
Australia last won the Davis Cup in 2003.
Great Britain will battle France for the final spot in Group B on Sunday.