Davis Cup Finals: Pospisil and Shapovalov edge Russia to reach dream final



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Davis Cup Finals: Pospisil and Shapovalov edge Russia to reach dream final

For the first time in history, Canada will fight for the Davis Cup title against Spain or Great Britain on Sunday following a thrilling victory over Russia at Caja Magica. Only four players had stepped on the court in the first semi-final tie in Madrid and it was Denis Shapovalov and Vasek Pospisil who overpowered Andrey Rublev and Karen Khachanov in the deciding doubles rubber tie break to start a massive celebration of another incredible victory in the Spanish capital.

Yesterday, Rublev and Khachanov saved three match points against Novak Djokovic and Viktor Troicki in the deciding set of the third match and they were unable to repeat that today, falling short and missing the opportunity to reach the title match.

They made a perfect start, though, with Andrey Rublev defeating Vasek Pospisil 6-4, 6-4 in an hour and 27 minutes to send Russia in front. Pospisil was one of the players to beat this week although it wasn't to be for him today, firing 15 aces but struggling on the second serve to get broken three times from seven chances offered to Rublev.

On the other hand, the young Russian repelled five out of six break opportunities, controlling the pace all the time to cross the finish line and move Russia closer to the finish line. Vasek got broken at love in the very first game following a loose forehand, losing the first eight points as Rublev held at love in game two with a service winner.

The Russian saved three break points in the eighth game and had three set points up for grabs on the return in the next game, denied by Pospisil who forced the rival to serve for the opener. Eventually, Andrey seized the sixth set point overall for a 6-4, gaining a massive boost and hoping for more of the same in set number two.

There, he broke in the third game thanks to another forehand error from the Canadian who broke back two games later following a double fault from the Russian. Staying focused, the youngster grabbed another break in the next game and created a match point on the return at 5-3, denied by an ace from Pospisil who still had to lay down his weapons after a hold at love from Rublev in game ten that propelled him over the top.

Karen Khachanov had the opportunity to seal the deal for Russia in the second rubber but that didn't happen, losing to Denis Shapovalov 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 in an hour and 53 minutes. They both won 89 points and the Canadian played better in the decisive moments, fending off five out of seven break chances and delivering three breaks to cement the victory and keep Canada in contention ahead of the pivotal doubles rubber.

Khachanov was off to a flying start, stealing Shapovalov's serve in the third game thanks to a double fault from Denis who made an incredible comeback from 4-1 down, rattling off five straight games to clinch the set in style.

The Canadian broke back in game seven when Karen placed a backhand long and moved 5-4 up with a cracking backhand crosscourt winner before closing the set with a service winner a few minutes later. With no room for errors, Khachanov served well throughout the second set, keeping the pressure on Shapovalov who hit a double fault in the tenth game to lose the serve and the set.

The crucial moment of the encounter occurred in the seventh game of the deciding set when Denis grabbed a break after forcing an error from the rival, saving a break point in the next game and taking five straight points at 5-4 to defend three break chances and find himself over the top.

It all came down to that doubles rubber that Pospisil and Shapovalov claimed 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 over Khachanov and Rublev in just over two hours for the place in the title match. There were no breaks in the final set and the semi-final went down to that decisive tie break that the Canadians won 7-5 after a service winner from Pospisil to start a massive celebration and march into Sunday's final.