Vasek Pospisil and Denis Shapovalov sent Canada into the nation’s first-ever Davis Cup final with a 2-1 defeat of Russia on Saturday in Madrid.

The breakthrough into a Sunday match against the winner from Britain and host Spain came in the third-set doubles tiebreak against the Russian pair of Andrey Rublev and Karen Khachanov.

Trailing 3-0 in the decider, Canada took up the slack to earn the lead 5-4 and moved onto earn two match point.

The North Americans came through on the second after a powerful serve which produced the final Russian error.

Vasek Pospisil and Denis Shapovalov celebrate win for Canada Photo Chryslene Caillaud

Victory took just over two hours.

“We played at a different level this week,” Shapovalov said. “It was great playing with Vasi,I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

Pospisil, 29, who underwent back surgery in January after several seasons of injury, is back on full form and loving his tennis again.

The Canadian said that preparation for Sunday’s final is key: “We’ll try to get a good night’s sleep and be ready tomorrow.”

Captain Frank Dancevic  could not have been happier with his scrappy side, which was missing both Milos Raonic and Felix Auger-Aliassime due to injury.

“This week is the fist time this team has been together,” the former ATP player said. “To play at this level and with this quality is phenomenal.

“Both teams played great, there was no room for error.

Canadian Captain Frank Dancevic talks to Denis Shapovalov Photo Chryslene Caillaud

“Our guys played with their hearts and went for their shots in the big moments. It’s just amazing, surreal. It’s been a long week with a lot of long matches.

“We’ll be getting a lot of recovery and rehab and be ready for Sunday. It’s a final – we will find a way.”

Pospisil was hit with a 6-3, 6-3 defeat in the opening rubber by on-form Russian Rublev, But Shapovalov got the afternoon back to level-pegging with his 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 defeat of Khachanov.

The Canadian rallied to win the last five game of the opening set to give himself the early lead.

After Khachanov took the second set, Shapovalov went up an quick break in the third but had to fight to defend it in the closing stages.

Serving to level the tie at one won each, the No. 15  double-faulted to hand over three break points.

But two errors from his opponent and a winning smash sent the youngster on the way to a match point, which he quickly converted for a 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 win to square the afternoon.

Russia missed out of a first Davis final since 2007.

“I played Vasek before and he beat me,” Rublev said, “I knew it was going to be a really tough match and that I needed to be focused – I needed to play every point, and fight for every point.

“I’m happy I performed so well – I’m surprised!”

Hosts Spain and Great Britain line up for second semi final. Photo Chryslene Caillaud

 

Rafael Nadal sent Spain into its first Davis Cup final in seven years as the world No. 1 won in singles and helped Feliciano Lopez to a tight double victory for a 2-1 defeat of Britain on a tie which ended early on Sunday.

The Spanish icon yielded the match point glory to Lopez, who produced an untouchable serve  after two and a quarter hours to ice the 7-6(3), 7-6(8) over Jamie Murray and Ken Skupski in Madrid.

Rafa Nadal and Feliciano Lopez celebrate victory Photo Chryslene Caillaud

Spain will play  in the Sunday final after the North Americans beat Russia 2-1..

“This competition is dramatic,” Nadal, who has played on three Davis championships sides, said. “It was a very even doubles match.

“Feliciano served amazing, he did everything well. This has been great, I’m really glad to get to the final.”

Lopez, 38, who serves as tournament director of the Madrid Masters held at the same Caja Magica venue each May, has played Davis Cup for Spain for a decade and a half.

“It was extraordinary and dramatic it’s very special for us to be in the final.

“It’s a great opportunity, we have a good chance to hold the trophy tomorrow.”

With a nervous and tightly wound Andy Murray cheering the side on, the Brits challenged the host pair, with Spain saving four set points which would have taken the tie into a deciding third set.

Andy Murray supporting British doubles pair. Photo Chryslene Caillaud

Earlier, Edmund dispatched substitute twice removed Lopez 6-3, 7-6(3); the Spaniard was replacing Pablo Carreno Busta (right leg), himself taking the place of Roberto Bautista Agut (family emergency).

But Nadal stepped up as usual with his undefeated Davis Cup record so far this week and methodically levelled the tie as he beat Dan Evans 6-4, 6-0, in 86 minutes.

Rafa Nadal celebrates Photo Chryslene Caillaud

 

Lopez was playing his first tie since 2016 after being called up.

A sellout crowd of 12,500 was boosted by around 1,000 last-minute British fans, who managed to make their way to the arena after Andy Murray footed the bill for tickets  which the Lawn Tennis Association distributed free to eager fans.

The 69th-ranked Edmund won his third singles match this week in 81 minutes, sending over 19 forehand winner and nine aces.

Britain’s Kyle Edmund won his third singles match of the week. Photo Chryslene Caillaud

“When you start off the match in this situation, there’s just a lot of noise, obviously full house tonight, they’ve come here to support Feli,Edmund said.

“I just had to be really, really focused and concentrate on myself and I got off to a great start.

“I just concentrated on my game, kept believing in my game, kept going after my strokes. In the end it was a very good performance from myself.”

Spain and Britain faced off only last year, with the Iberians winning 3-1 in the first round under the classic Davis Cup format no longer being used.

Nadal has lost only one Davis singles match in his career,  going down to Jiri Novak in 2004.

 

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