Auger-Aliassime upset Alcaraz in singles and paired up with Pospisil to clinch deciding doubles
Valencia — Canada advanced to the quarter-finals of the Davis Cup Finals despite a 2–1 loss to Serbia. Owing to its earlier wins over the Republic of Korea and Spain and total matches won, Team Canada will finish first or second in Group B. The knock-out stage of the 2022 Davis Cup Finals will take place from November 22 to 27 at the Palacio de Deportes José María Martín Carpena in Malaga, Spain.
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On the heels of his triumph at the Granby National Bank Championships in August, No.334 Gabriel Diallo of Québec was given the opportunity to play the first match of his Davis Cup career against No.66 Laslo Djere in the opening clash. Despite a valiant effort, the 20-year-old Canadian couldn’t get passed Djere, who pocketed four of seven break points on his way to 6-2, 6-2. Despite the loss, Diallo had only positive takeaways from his first Davis Cup experience. “It was an honour to be selected by my country. It’s something I’d been dreaming about since I was a little kid. I’m super grateful to be here,” Diallo said at the post-match press conference.
“It’s obviously not the result I wanted, but I’m going to try and learn as much as possible. I think it's just going to make me better, and I just have to keep my head down and work 20 times harder.”
- Gabriel Diallo, Team Canada
In the second match of the day, No. 13 Félix Auger-Aliassime went to battle against Serbia’s top player Miomir Kecmanovic (33rd). While the Quebecer managed to pull off a sensational win over World No.1 Carlos Alcaraz on Friday, he still faced a major challenge today in Kecmanovic, who’s had a fantastic season with a career-high 30 ATP victories. What’s more, Auger-Aliassime was 0–2 in their head-to-head.
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Even so, the Canadian continued to build on his momentum by relying on his serve. He racked up nine aces and gave up only nine points on serve. He won the first set for the first time in the tournament and never looked back. In the second set, he didn’t face a single breakpoint and sealed Canada’s first win of the day (6-3, 6-4). With the victory, Canada punched its ticket for the knock-out stage in Malaga in November.
“I'm really happy. It's the best feeling not only to win important wins for myself but also for the team. It's very nice to see a smile on everyone’s face and make the team happy and proud,” Félix Auger-Aliassime responded when asked how he felt about Canada qualifying.
“I was a bit tired, but pushing myself was all worth it. I’m really happy that I came and played with the level I did to get Canada through to the quarters. I’m really happy for the team. In the end, it’s all worth it.”
- Felix Auger-Aliassime, Team Canada
In the last match of the day, captain Frank Dancevic selected No.141 Vasek Pospisil and No.247 Alexis Galarneau for the doubles match to secure the win that would put Canada in the top spot in Group B. But after only 18 minutes of play, Pospisil was forced to retire due to injury, giving Serbia the win. Despite the loss, Dancevic was very proud of his team’s performance in Valencia this week.
“It’s been an incredible week, from the start to today. All the players and staff—it’s just been so much positive energy from all sides. The guys, they played incredible tennis. There are a few matches where we were down in the third set, and we easily could have lost them. We just kept fighting until the end. They put their hearts on the line. It’s just an incredible effort from the team. That’s what it took to win this tie and get through to the next round. " Canada is now awaiting the result of the contest between Spain and the Republic of Korea to find out whether it finishes first or second in the group. Korea is already eliminated due to its 0–2 record, and Spain must win at least two of the three matches to qualify for the next stage in Malaga.