Underdogs Finland stunned 32-times champions the United States on Saturday to seal their place in the Davis Cup quarter-finals for the first time, while the Czech Republic, Australia and defending champions Canada all advanced.
In a thrilling match at the Davis Cup finals in Split, Croatia, debutants Finland made history with two impressive victories. Otto Virtanen fought back from two match points down in a tense tiebreaker against Mackenzie McDonald, ultimately winning 7-6 (5), 1-6, 7-6 (7). In another exciting match, Emil Ruusuvuori secured Finland’s victory by defeating Tommy Paul 7-6 (1), 6-4 on his fourth match point.
In November, Finland and the Netherlands both moved on from Group D and made it to the quarter-finals in Malaga, located in southern Spain.
Ruusuvuori expressed the significance of this achievement for the entire country and for the sport of tennis in Finland, stating, “It’s a monumental moment for us. We’re heading to Malaga!”
He stated that he did not participate in the US Open due to illness and was not in optimal physical condition upon arriving. He faced physical challenges during his match today, but persevered and eventually found a way to win in two lengthy sets.
Canada defeated Chile with a score of 2-1 in the match. Alexis Galarneau’s win of 6-3, 7-6 (5) against Alejandro Tabilo in the first match ensured Canada’s place in Malaga.
Nicolas Jarry brought the match to an even score by defeating Gabriel Diallo with a score of 6-4, 6-4. However, Galarneau and Vasek Pospisil secured a 6-3, 7-6 (7) win against Marcelo Tomás Barrios Vera and Tabilo, leading to Canada claiming the top spot in Group A.
If Italy wins at least one match in Bologna on Sunday, it has the potential to move forward from that group along with Canada.
Australia, who were the runners-up last year, secured their spot in the quarter-finals by defeating Switzerland 3-0 in Manchester.
If Australia had lost any of the matches, they would have had to rely on the result of Britain’s game against France on Sunday.
The Czech Republic secured first place in Group C by defeating Serbia 3-0, as Novak Djokovic and Nikola Cacic lost in the doubles match. Both teams had already qualified for the next round with two victories each in Valencia.
Unfortunately, despite Laslo Djere’s strong performance in the finals group stage, he faced a back injury and had to fight hard to save four match points in his match against Jiri Lehecka. However, the Czech player ultimately came out on top with a score of 7-6(7) 7-5.
“I am happy with the victory, it’s as straightforward as that,” stated Lehecka. “Laslo is a wonderful person and an even more impressive player, so it was a major challenge for me to face him on this court. Securing the top position in the group for my country was a great achievement.”
“Impressive shots and unwavering determination characterize his play. Despite my 4-1 lead in the second set, he remained poised for his opportunities. I must have elevated my performance and it paid off.”
Next, the teams will travel to Malaga for the knockout rounds which will be held from November 21st to 26th.