Pospisil & Shapovalov Send Canada Into Davis Cup Semi-Finals

Canada advances to the semi-finals (photo: Manuel Queimadelos/Quality Sport Images/Kosmos Tennis)

MALAGA, November 25, 2022

Canada successfully overcame the quarterfinal hurdle of the Davis Cup Finals by Rakuten with a 2-1 victory over Germany on Thursday evening in Malaga, Spain.

In front of 8,243 spectators at the Palacio de Deportes Jose Maria Martin Carpena, Jan-Lennard Struff gave Germany an early advantage following a 6-3, 4-6, 7-6(4) win over Denis Shapovalov after two hours and five minutes in the opening singles rubber. The 32-year-old from Warstein capitalized on three of his five break-point chances to prevail after two hours and five minutes.

“It was a tough match. I played, like I talked with Kohle (Michael Kohlmann) on the bench, but Shapo was returning well and passing very well. I am just very happy I could get the victory for Germany, the first point,” Struff said afterwards.  “It was a tough singles match,” said Shapovalov. “Struff is an opponent that I have struggled with in the past. He plays big for big matches. I was struggling a little bit with the timing, with my serve in the match. However, I think in general, it was a good fight for me and the level was pretty high a lot of moments in the match.” However, World No. 6 Felix Auger-Aliassime helped Canada level the tie by winning the second match 7-6(1), 6-4 in one hour and 43 minutes over Germany’s No. 1 Oscar Otte. Auger-Aliassime, who has now won both of his meetings with Otte, once again proved to be a dominant player, relying on his serve (15 aces compared to 5 for the German) and his devastating forehand (21 winners to 7). During the contest, the 22-year-old from Montreal was never really put under pressure, facing only one break point which he easily erased en route to the fourth Davis Cup singles victory of his career.

 In his press conference, Auger-Aliassime had nothing but good things to say about his rival, whom he faced a few weeks ago in Florence, Italy: “We played not long ago in similar conditions, where I won two good sets and lost one tiebreak. I did expect that he [could] serve well and anybody’s kind of dangerous when they are serving well. I had to be careful and I had to stay sharp. But in the end, when the ball was in play, I was winning more rallies than he did, and it allowed me to come out with the win.” The outcome of the tie was finally sealed in the decisive doubles match, which pitted the Canadian pair of Denis Shapovalov and Vasek Pospisil against the in Davis Cup matches undefeated German duo of Tim Puetz and Kevin Krawietz. The Canadians found themselves in trouble early on after dropping the first set 6-2, but quickly recovered in the second frame. Galvanized by a noisy Canadian crowd, the two players managed to turn the tide by winning three consecutive games in the second set to take a 4-1 lead. Pospisil and Shapovalov took advantage of the turnaround and kept the momentum going to close out the match 2-6, 6-3, 6-3 at midnight in Southern Spain.

“I think with a few days distance we realise what we have achieved this year, but also last year. We are one of the teams that play for the title year after year and our best player has been missing so far,” said Puetz.

“We are very disappointed. We wanted to help the team and get the second point. Unfortunately, we didn’t manage that because the Canadians were better at the end and we couldn’t keep up the level from the first set,” Krawietz added.

“Winning is always an incredible feeling. Today was a perfect example of Davis Cup at its finest: it was a very tough task for us and we were tested in many ways,” said Team Canada captain Frank Dancevic after the tie.

“However, these guys, they have great energy. When they find the energy in the matches, I feel so confident they can beat any team in the world. It was amazing to watch. They showed so much heart going in the match, and once they found the rhythm, they played lights out and [really] took control of the match.”

The line-up for the stage of the last four teams at the Davis Cup by Rakuten Finals in Malaga is set. Canada will take on Italy on Friday. Australia will play Croatia.

Canada defeated Germany 2-1

Quarterfinal – Palacio de Deportes Jose Maria Martin Carpena, Malaga, Spain

Jan-Lennard Struff (GER) d. Denis Shapovalov (CAN) 6-3 4-6 7-6(2)

Felix Auger-Aliassime (CAN) d. Oscar Otte (GER) 7-6(1) 6-4

Vasek Pospisil/Denis Shapovalov (CAN) d. Kevin Krawietz/Tim Puetz (GER) 2-6 6-3 6-3