Spain beats Britain to face Canada in Davis Cup final

AP Photo
1 Comment

MADRID — Rafael Nadal won his singles and doubles in leading Spain to a 2-1 comeback win over Britain to put the hosts back in the Davis Cup final on Saturday.

Nadal and Feliciano Lopez defeated Jamie Murray and Neal Skupski, 7-6 (3), 7-6 (8) in the decisive doubles to secure Spain its first final since 2012.

Spain, a five-time champion, will play first-time finalist Canada in the climax of the revamped Davis Cup on Sunday.

“It was an exciting match, almost dramatic,” Nadal said. “We played at a high level. We knew the victory would come if we played with determination and hope.”

Kyle Edmund gave Britain the lead with a 6-3, 7-6 (3) win over Lopez in the first singles, then Nadal evened the semifinal by cruising past Daniel Evans 6-4, 6-0 for his 28th straight Davis Cup singles victory.

The top-ranked Nadal has won all six of his matches this week.

England did not use Andy Murray for the third straight day. The three-time Grand Slam champion won his opening singles but said he was not in his best shape.

Little separated the teams in the doubles on Caja Magica’s center court, with neither capitalizing on their break opportunities. Both sets lasted more than an hour.

Spain prevailed in both tiebreakers before a boisterous home crowd after Britain squandered four set points in the second set, including three in the tiebreaker. Spain converted on its second match point.

“The crowd was amazing,” Nadal said. “It’s hard to describe the feeling of playing in a team competition in front of our fans on this court. It was incredible.”

HISTORIC CANADA

Canada reached its maiden final in 106 years of playing the Davis Cup after Vasek Pospisil and Denis Shapovalov beat Karen Khachanov and Andrey Rublev 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (5) in another decisive doubles.

Rublev put the Russians ahead defeating Pospisil 6-4, 6-4 in the first singles, and Shapovalov evened the tie by downing Khachanov 6-4, 4-6, 6-4.

In the doubles, the Canadians trailed 3-0 in the third-set tiebreaker but rallied and converted their second match point.

“Today was an incredible match,” Pospisil said. “I mean, the doubles, just with the buildup, obviously getting to this moment the last five days, I mean, it took a lot of emotions even just to get to this match.

“It’s pretty incredible to make the finals, first time in history for Canada. To do it the way it happened was pretty special to be a part of.”

Pospisil and Shapovalov have played all of the matches for Canada, which won Group F by defeating former champions Italy and the United States, then eliminated another former champ Australia in the quarterfinals. It had never beaten the U.S. or Australia in the Davis Cup.

The Canadians impressed in Madrid without two of their top three players. Milos Raonic was out injured, and Felix Auger-Aliassime was with the team but also injured.

The 150th-ranked Pospisil did not drop a set in singles this week until his loss to Rublev. The 20-year-old Shapovalov, No. 15 in the world, also won three of his four singles.

Russia, which won the Davis Cup in 2002 and 2006, also used only Khachanov and Rublev.

“It hurts of course that we lost today, but overall we gave our best,” Khachanov said. “We cannot complain that we didn’t do something.”