Canada first through to Davis Cup semifinals

Published by AAP / Reuters

Denis Shapovalov (L) and Vasek Pospisil (R) celebrate with captain Frank Dancevic after clinching the decisive doubles rubber to hand Canada a 2-1 victory over Australia in the Davis Cup quarterfinals in Madrid. (Getty Images)
A 2-1 victory over Australia sends Canada into the Davis Cup semifinals, while Serbia, Great Britain, Germany, Russia and Argentina complete the knock-out line-up.

Canada on Thursday night defeated Australia 2-1 with the inspirational Vasek Pospisil the hero for the Canadians who will now face Serbia or Russia in the Davis Cup semifinals on Saturday.

Australians John Peers and Jordan Thompson went down 6-4 6-4 in the decisive doubles rubber to Pospisil and Denis Shapovalov.

Earlier, the admirable Alex de Minaur had levelled the tie at 1-1 after coming from a set down to beat Shapovalov, after John Millman was beaten in the opening rubber by the in-form Pospisil.

Pospisil, a Wimbledon doubles champion in 2014, lifted his young teammate in the doubles decider shortly after Shapovalov’s defeat, to seal a fantastic victory.

Injuries to Felix Auger-Aliassime and Brayden Schnur and Milos Raonic have forced the Canadians to field Shapovalov and Pospisil in every match of the Davis Cup Finals this week.

Peers, who was forced to retire with an elbow injury just one game into the dead rubber against Belgium in the early hours of Thursday morning, was cleared to play.

But after a poor first set, the Aussies broke in the first game of the second set to seize the initiative.

However, Thompson was broken at 4-4 and Pospisil, fittingly, held his nerve to close out the win.

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The quarterfinal between Canada and Australia took place on Thursday night at Madrid’s Caja Mágica; in the day session on Thursday, the groups stages were completed and the quarterfinal line-up was completed.

Serbia sealed its place in straightforward fashion while Great Britain survived another nailbiter before joining them in the last eight.

Filip Krajinovic’s 7-5 7-6 win over France’s Jo-Wilfried Tsonga effectively guaranteed Serbia’s path from Group A before Novak Djokovic beat Benoit Paire 6-3 6-3 to put them 2-0 ahead.

Nicolas Mahut and Pierre Hugues-Herbert claimed a consolation win for France in the doubles but last year’s Davis Cup runners-up, along with 2018 champions Croatia, miss out.

Britain’s Group E decider against Kazakhstan went to the wire with doubles duo Jamie Murray and Neal Skupski edging them home for the second day running.

Former world No.1 Andy Murray was given a day off after his near three-hour win against Dutchman Tallon Griekspoor 24 hours earlier; his replacement Kyle Edmund beat Mikhail Kukushkin 6-3 6-3.

Bublik beat Dan Evans 5-7 6-4 6-1 to level the tie and raise hopes among the vociferous Kazakh fans but Murray and Skupski, cheered on by a large British fan club, easily beat Bublik and Kukushkin 6-1 6-4 to seal a 2-1 win.

Germany made sure of top spot in Group C as veteran Philipp Kohlschreiber beat Chile’s Nicolas Jarry in the opening rubber of their tie on Thursday. A 2-1 win for the Germans meant they qualified in first place ahead of Argentina.

Argentina survived as one of the two best runners-up; the other was Russia.

In Friday’s three remaining quarterfinal ties, Serbia faces Russia, Spain plays Argentina and Britain takes on Germany.

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