VALENCIA, Spain –
Felix Auger-Aliassime defeated Miomir Kecmanovic of Serbia on Saturday, to secure the Canadian men’s tennis team a place in the quarterfinals of the Davis Cup Finals.
A day after Auger-Aliassime upset Carlos Alcaraz – the latest top player in the world – to lead Canada past Spain, the Montreal-born player beat Kecmanovic 6-3, 6-4.
“I’m really happy,” said No. 13 Auger-Aliassime. “It’s the greatest feeling not only to win important victories for yourself but also for the team. It’s great to see smiles on everyone’s faces and make the team happy and proud.”
The Davis Cup quarterfinals take place from November 22 to 27 in Malaga, Spain.
Canada was beaten 2-1 by Serbia on Saturday, after Vasek Pospisil was forced to withdraw from the doubles match due to injury.
But Auger-Aliassime’s win gave Canada the final point needed to secure the top spot in Group B.
“I’m a bit tired, but trying my best is worth it,” he said. “I’m really happy that I came and played with the form I did to get Canada through to the quarterfinals. I’m really happy for the team. In the end, it’s all worth it.”
Auger-Aliassime continued to rely on his service, winning nine aces and dropping only nine on serve. He won the first set for the first time in the tournament, and hasn’t looked back. In the second set, he did not face a breakpoint.
Canada’s chances of qualifying for the knockout stages looked shaky earlier when 20-year-old Gabriel Diallo of Quebec City lost to Laslo Djere, 6-2, 6-2, in his Davis Cup opener.
“It’s an honor to be chosen by my country,” said Diallo, who ranked 334th. “It’s something I’ve dreamed of since I was a kid. I’m grateful to be here. Obviously. no. the outcome I want, but I’m going to try and learn as much as I can. I think it’s going to make me better and I just have to put my head down and work 20 times harder.”
Diallo, number 334, won the Granby National Banking Championship last month.
Captain Frank Dancevic chose 141 Vasek Pospisil and 247 Alexis Galarneau for the doubles match, but after only 18 minutes of play, Pospisil was forced to retire.
Despite the loss to Serbia, Dancevic is still proud of the team’s efforts in Valencia.
“It’s been an incredible week, from start to finish today. All the players and staff – it’s been a lot of positive energy from all sides,” he said. “Boys, they played incredible tennis. There were a few matches where we lost in the third set, and we could have easily lost them. We just kept fighting for them. to the end.”
Meanwhile in Glasgow, Botic van de Zandschulp and Tallon Griekspoor won singles against Taylor Fritz and Tommy Paul of the Netherlands to leave the Netherlands top of the Davis Cup Final group with a 2-1 victory.
Van de Zandschulp equalized by beating world No 12 Fritz, 6-4, 7-6 (3) after Griekspoor opened with a 7-5, 7-6 (3) win over Paul.
The Dutch took a 2-0 lead, then Rajeev Ram and Jack Sock earned some compensation for the Americans by claiming their doubles win over Wesley Koolhof and Matwe Middelkoop.
The United States and the Netherlands have firmly reached the quarterfinals with two wins in Group D. As the winners of the group, the Netherlands next face the runner-up of Group C, Australia or Germany.
The US will play the winner of Group A, most likely Italy. The Italians play on Sunday in Bologna against Sweden.
Also on Saturday, Croatia beat Argentina 3-0 to claim their second win after an opening loss to Italy.
France beat Belgium 2-1 in Group C, where Australia and Germany were certain to reach the final eight.
This Canadian Press report was first published on September 17, 2022. With files from The Associated Press.