Could 2022 be the year that Canada goes all the way at the Davis Cup Finals?
Led by World No. 6 Felix Auger-Aliassime, the North American country is now just one tie away from a historic maiden triumph in the team event after it secured a semi-final comeback victory against Italy on Saturday in Malaga.
Auger-Aliassime was the key to the Canadian’s 2-1 victory in the tie. Although Lorenzo Sonego moved Italy ahead with an epic 7-6(4), 6-7(5), 6-4 triumph against Denis Shapovalov in the opening singles rubber, the 22-year-old Auger-Aliassime downed Lorenzo Musetti 6-3, 6-4 to level proceedings in Spain.
Canada captain Frank Dancevic then made a late change to his doubles line-up for the decider, calling up Auger-Aliassime to partner Vasek Pospisil against Matteo Berrettini and Fabio Fognini. The plan worked, as the Canadians broke their opponents’ serve three times en route to a 7-6(2), 7-5 win that set a final clash on Sunday against Australia.
“That’s the good thing about having many good players on the team,” said Auger-Aliassime. “I feel like Denis and Vasek played really well yesterday to come back and win, but Denis had a long match, and we knew coming this week that we could make some changes depending on how singles went.
“I feel like the whole team connected around this idea and there was no ego in the wrong place. Everybody just has the clear idea of the main goal, which is lifting the cup tomorrow.”
Canada reached the Davis Cup final 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.
“Making the finals is always an amazing feeling, and I really believe in this team,” said captain Dancevic. “We’ve done it before, we’re here again and I believe we can win this, so we’re going to go after it tomorrow and give it all we’ve got.
“The guys left their hearts and souls out on the court today, from the first ball to the last, as a captain that’s all I could ask for. The boys in the doubles stepped it up to take this victory.”
What is the format for the 2022 Davis Cup Finals?
The group stage of the 2022 Davis Cup by Rakuten Finals took place across four cities — Bologna, Glasgow, Hamburg and Valencia — from 13-18 September. Sixteen nations competed in four round-robin groups of four teams. The top two teams in each group advanced to the knock-out stage. The knock-out stage is taking place in Malaga this week, with the final on Sunday.