HALIFAX, September 18, 2016
Canada’s Davis Cup team has officially accomplished its mission of earning a spot in the Davis Cup by BNP Paribas World Group in 2017 following a sweep of Chile at the Scotiabank Centre in Halifax on Saturday. Vasek Pospisil (Vancouver) and Adil Shamasdin (Pickering, Ont.) picked up a 6-3, 6-4, 7-6(6) triumph over Nicolas Jarry and Hans Podlipnik-Castillo to put Canada up an surmountable 3-0 in their World Group play-off tie, after Canada also won both singles matches a day earlier.
After holding off two break points in the third game of the first set – the only break points they would face the whole match – Pospisil and Shamasdin maintained control through the contest. With early breaks at 2-1 in the first set and in the opening game of the second set, Pospisil and Shamasdin needed just 70 minutes to take a two-set lead versus Jarry and Podlipnik-Castillo, last year’s Pan Am Games doubles gold medallists. Though the third set was close, Pospisil and Shamasdin closed it out on their third match point in the tiebreaker to clinch the important win for Canada.
“We’re very happy. There was a lot of pressure this week, on the whole team,” said Pospisil. “I felt I played really well yesterday against a tough opponent who was serving great and then I played well today as well. I felt like I couldn’t have done more, and the whole team, with Frank [Dancevic] coming out to set the tone yesterday and Adil playing great tennis today. So this is what we were hoping for and it was expected of us but it’s never so easy.”
The victory is 34-year-old Shamasdin’s first in Davis Cup, in his second match played for Canada in the competition. He participated in his first tie in the quarter-finals against Belgium last year, falling alongside Daniel Nestor.
Canada is currently in the midst of its most successful Davis Cup run in history, as it will now play in the World Group for a sixth straight year in 2017, meaning it will be one of just 16 teams to compete for the prestigious trophy. Semifinalists in 2013 and quarter-finalists in 2015, Canada had only competed in the World Group three times before this current streak (1991, 1992, and 2004).
“It’s huge to stay in the World Group, it’s a great relief,” said team captain Martin Laurendeau. “We’ve been in this position a couple times and we’ve been able to remain in the World Group, and that’s where we feel we belong. If you can do it that long, it means a lot about the players and about the depth of our team. We have guys who can pick it up if and when some of the other guys aren’t here, and we were able to display that again this weekend. And it’s great to do it at home, it makes a big difference.”
The 2017 Davis Cup draw will take place next Thursday in London, and will determine Canada’s potential pathway to the title starting with the first round from February 3-5. The draw will reveal Canada’s opening round opponent and if the tie will be at home or away.
Action this weekend will resume on Sunday at 1 p.m. AT with the final two singles matches, which will be best-of-three sets because the tie has already been clinched. Canadian captain Martin Laurendeau has confirmed he will be substituting Wimbledon junior champion Denis Shapovalov (Richmond Hill, Ont.) in for Pospisil against Garin in the first match of the day, where he will make his Davis Cup debut. The second match is currently scheduled to see Dancevic take on Jarry.