Davis Cup: Canada secures entry into the quarterfinals

Valencia, Spain –

Felix Auger-Aliassime defeated Serbia’s Miomir Kecmanovic on Saturday to secure Canada’s men’s tennis team a spot in the quarterfinals of the Davis Cup Finals.

A day after Auger-Aliassime upset Carlos Alcaraz – the world’s newest top player – to lead Canada past Spain, the Montreal native defeated Kecmanovic 6-3, 6-4.

“I’m really happy,” said Auger-Aliassime, number 13. “It’s the best feeling to get important wins not only for myself but also for the team. It’s very nice to see smiles on everyone’s faces and make the team happy and proud.”

The Davis Cup Quarterfinals will be held in Malaga, Spain from November 22nd to 27th.

Canada were beaten 2-1 by Serbia on Saturday after Vasek Pospisil missed the doubles game through injury.

But Auger-Aliassime’s win had already given Canada the last point they needed to guarantee a top-two finish in Group B.

“I was a bit tired but it was worth the effort,” he said. “I’m really happy that I came and played at my level to lead Canada to the quarter-finals. I’m really happy for the team. In the end, it’s all worth it.”

Auger-Aliassime continued to rely on his service, amassing nine aces and giving up just nine points on serve. He won the first set for the first time in the tournament and didn’t look back. He didn’t have a single break point in the second set.

Canada’s chances of qualifying for the knockout stages looked shaky earlier in the day as 20-year-old Quebec City’s Gabriel Diallo lost 6-2, 6-2 to Laslo Djere in his Davis Cup debut.

“It was an honor to be selected by my country,” said Diallo, who is ranked 334th. “I’ve dreamed of this since I was a little kid. I’m super thankful to be here. It’s obviously not the result I wanted, but I’ll try to learn as much as I can. I think it will only make me better and I just need to keep my head down and work 20 times harder.

Diallo, No. 334, had a win at the Granby National Bank Championships last month.

Captain Frank Dancevic selected No. 141 Vasek Pospisil and No. 247 Alexis Galarneau for the doubles, but Pospisil was forced to retire after just 18 minutes of play.

Despite losing to Serbia, Dancevic was proud of his team’s performances in Valencia.

“It’s been an incredible week from start to finish. All the players and staff – there was just so much positive energy from all sides,” he said. “The boys played incredible tennis. There are a couple of games where we were behind in the third set and we could have easily lost them. We just fought to the end.”

Meanwhile, in Glasgow, Botic van de Zandschulp and Tallon Griekspoor beat Americans Taylor Fritz and Tommy Paul in singles for the Netherlands to top the Davis Cup finals group with a 2-1 win.

Van de Zandschulp decided the tie as he defeated world No. 12 Fritz 6-4, 7-6 (3) after Griekspoor opened with a 7-5, 7-6 (3) win over Paul .

The Dutch led an unassailable 2-0 before Rajeev Ram and Jack Sock equalized for the Americans with double wins against Wesley Koolhof and Matwe Middelkoop.

The United States and the Netherlands were already safely through to the quarter-finals with two wins each in Group D. As group winners, the Netherlands will next meet runners-up in Group C, either Australia or Germany.

The USA will play against the winner of Group A, most likely Italy. The Italians play against Sweden in Bologna on Sunday.

Also on Saturday, Croatia defeated Argentina 3-0 to claim their second win after losing their opener to Italy.

France defeated Belgium 2-1 in Group C, where Australia and Germany were already assured of a place in the last eight.

This report from The Canadian Press was first published on September 17, 2022. With files from The Associated Press.