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Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Canada clinch Davis Cup Finals crown


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Malaga (Spain): Felix Auger-Aliassime fired Canada to its first Davis Cup Finals title on Sunday when he defeated Alex de Minaur 6-3, 6-4 to give his nation an unassailable 2-0 lead against Australia.

Auger-Aliassime won his seventh and eighth sets of the Davis Cup by Rakuten Final 8 2022 to add to those won by Denis Shapovalov earlier on Sunday, giving Canada an unassailable 2-0 lead against Australia.

It was more testing than the 6-3, 6-4 scoreline against Alex de Minaur suggests, and Auger-Aliassime had to fight off eight break points to get over the line.

The emotions are tough to describe,” said Auger-Aliassime. “Denis and I grew up together, dreaming of these types of stage, dreaming of winning the Davis Cup. It’s a great moment for myself and for the country.”

Earlier, Shapovalov came out firing from the very first ball against Thanasi Kokkinakis to establish a 4-0 lead, and ran out a 6-2, 6-4 winner.

Shapovalov was understandably thrilled. “From when we were juniors, watching Vasek [Pospisil], Milos Raonic and Daniel Nestor play Davis Cup, we wanted to do the same, and maybe even to win it one day.

“It was tough to lose in 2019, it was an empty feeling and we wanted it badly this time,” he said.

The World No. 6, Auger-Aliassime, won his singles and doubles match to secure Canada a place in the final and he backed that up with a dominant display against de Minaur.

Auger-Aliassime fired 22 winners and held his nerve at crucial moments, saving all eight break points he faced to triumph after one hour and 42 minutes.

It is the first time Canada has won the Davis Cup Finals after it reached the championship match for the first time in 2019. On that occasion, Auger-Aliassime and Shapovalov were beaten by Roberto Bautista Agut and Rafael Nadal, respectively, to fall agonisingly short of winning a first Davis Cup crown for their country.

In a dream week, Canada also defeated Germany and Italy. Australia overcame Croatia in the semifinals to reach its first Davis Cup final since 2003.

Auger-Aliassime ended his career-best season holding a 60-27 record. In a standout year, the 22-year-old won four tour-level titles and helped guide Canada to the ATP Cup trophy.

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