It took over seven hours of top-class tennis and with the clock almost striking 1am in Valencia, Canada spoiled Spain’s party by clinching a shock 2-1 win to move top of Group B at the Davis Cup by Rakuten Finals.
Felix Auger-Aliassime and Vasek Pospisil were the heroes of the hour. The Canadians played two matches each and somehow stole victory in the doubles, coming back from 4-5 down in the final set to win three games in a row in a mad five minutes.
“Yeah, it’s crazy,” an exhausted Auger-Aliassime said. “I don’t know how we pulled that off. We hit some great returns and played an amazing level the last three games. We were in some zone - that was different.”
It looked as if Canada’s lack of depth might be their undoing when they went a break down in the final set of the doubles. Auger-Aliassime alone put in a shift of four hours and 55 minutes on court and Pospisil received treatment on his lower back during his 3-6, 6-3, 6-3 singles loss against Roberto Bautista Agut.
Yet Frank Dancevic’s men responded to his rallying cry to fight until the end.
“We’re warriors,” Dancevic said. “We go to the end. I told them ‘you have to go for your shots’. They pulled out some huge returns. It was an incredible finish to an incredible day.”
Group B is now wide open with all four nations still able to progress to Malaga for the Final 8 on 22–27 November.
The story of the day was supposed to be about the glorious return of world No. 1 Carlos Alcaraz, but the 19-year-old came up short against an inspired Auger-Aliassime in the second singles, falling 6-7(3), 6-4, 6-2 in two hours and 50 minutes.
We hit some great returns and played an amazing level the last three games. We were in some zone - that was different
Just a day after Swiss legend Roger Federer announced he will be retiring from tennis, Alcaraz and Auger-Aliassime showed the future of the sport is in safe hands.
“It is a big win for me and for the team,” Auger-Aliassime said. “Because Carlos is the new No.1, of course. But he made a big effort, so we have to pay him respect for flying across the Atlantic and coming here to play... credit for that.”
The Canadian maintained an exceptional level on serve all day and despite dropping the first set tiebreak, he broke through after almost two hours when Alcaraz skewed a backhand wide, going 5-4 up before serving out the second set to send the match into a decider.
And the Canadian 22-year-old rode the momentum into the start of the third set, breaking Alcaraz’s serve at the first time of asking. Auger-Aliassime saved four break points in an epic fourth game that lasted over 10 minutes, before moving a double break up at 4-1 with more precise hitting.
Auger-Aliassime had done enough, holding serve to close out the match.
“I didn't arrive at my best,” explained Alcaraz, who only arrived in Spain on Tuesday. “I only had two days to adapt my game to the court, but I wanted to be here representing Spain and share this moment as number one with friends and family and also with the team.”