Barcelona, 22 November 2019 (dpa/MIA) – Canada became the first nation to reach the 2019 Davis Cup semi-finals, with a 2-1 win over Australia in the early hours of Friday.
Denis Shapovalov and Vasek Pospisil beat John Peers and Jordan Thompson 6-4, 6-4 in the decisive doubles rubber, setting up a clash with Serbia or Russia in the revamped tournament in Madrid.
Nick Kyrgios was surprisingly left out by Australia and they paid for his absence as Pospisil earned a surprising 7-6 (9-7), 6-4 win over John Millman to send Canada ahead in the tie.
The Canadian’s power game was too much for Millman to handle and Pospisil forced an error to clinch victory on the Australian’s serve.
However Alex de Minaur hit back for Australia with a 3-6, 6-3, 7-5 triumph over Shapovalov to inflict Canada its first singles defeat of the competition.
De Minaur’s win sparked wild celebrations by captain Lleyton Hewitt and Kyrgios, with the tie now hinging on the winner-take-all doubles battle.
Despite the Australian duo being fresh, not having featured on Thursday unlike their opponents, Canada broke early in the first set and served it out.
Back-to-back unforced errors from Australia helped Canada break to go 5-4 in the second set, and the impressive Pospisil hit three aces in the final game to send his country through.
Earlier, Novak Djokovic helped Serbia reach the quarter-finals as he comfortably saw off Benoit Paire on Thursday to eliminate France.
Djokovic made light work of Paire with a 6-3, 6-3 win, following up Filip Krajinovic’s 7-5, 7-6 (7-5) win over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.
Last year’s runners-up France failed to progress despite Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut beating Janko Tipsarevic and Viktor Troicki 6-4, 6-4 in the doubles dead rubber afterwards.
Djokovic hailed his team-mate Krajinovic after his smooth 69-minute win over Paire.
“Filip definitely gave me wings with his win, which was quite amazing, Tsonga was playing well and in good form and Filip was just fantastic on the court today. Credit to him,” said Djokovic.
Serbia face Russia on Friday in the quarter-finals, while Germany progressed to the knockout stage too as Davis Cup veteran Philipp Kohlschreiber’s 6-4, 6-3 win over Chile’s Nicolas Jarry gave them the top spot in Group C and eliminated their South American opponents.
“I think I’m one of the oldest players here in Davis Cup,” said the 36-year-old Kohlschreiber.
“I really enjoy it. It’s a great team, we have huge support, great atmosphere and we’re very happy to be in the quarter-finals.”
Britain, without Andy Murray, beat Kazakhstan 2-1 to set up a clash with Germany in the last eight.
Kyle Edmund beat Mikhail Kukushkin 6-3, 6-3, but Alexander Bublik edged Dan Evans 5-7, 6-4, 6-1 to level the tie at 1-1.
Jamie Murray and Neal Skupski convincingly beat Bublik and Kukushkin 6-1, 6-4 in the doubles rubber decider to help Britain win Group E.
“We played a great match from start to finish. We started quickly, were aggressive and didn’t give them time to settle,” said Jamie Murray.
“I don’t like to give them time, that’s my style and Neal did a great job, playing some great tennis. We’re so happy to get to the quarter-finals.”
Andy Murray, who had a cough and is still finding his way back after hip surgery, might be available to face Germany.
Remaining quarter-finals Britain v Germany, Spain v Argentina and Serbia v Russia take place on Friday.