Photo: The Canadian Press
LONDON — Next up for Canada in its pursuit of a Davis Cup title defence is a quarterfinal matchup with Finland this fall in Malaga, Spain.
The draw for the Nov. 21-26 competition was held Tuesday at the International Tennis Federation offices. In other Final 8 ties, Serbia will play Britain, the Czech Republic will meet Australia and Italy will face the Netherlands.
Canada showed its depth in last week’s group stage as youngsters Alexis Galarneau and Gabriel Diallo teamed with veteran Vasek Pospisil in wins over Chile, host Italy and Sweden in Bologna, Italy.
Finland, meanwhile, upset the United States and Croatia to secure its first appearance in this knockout stage of the top team event in men’s tennis.
Canada defeated Australia 2-0 in 2022 to win the Davis Cup for the first time since the event’s debut in 1900.
Denis Shapovalov of Richmond Hill, Ont., and Montreal’s Felix Auger-Aliassime won their singles matches in the final. Pospisil, from Vernon, B.C., and Auger-Aliassime were tabbed to play doubles but the match wasn’t played since Canada had clinched.
Diallo, the world No. 161 from Montreal, and Galarneau, the world No. 202 from Laval, Que., were nominated to the 2022 team but didn’t play in the Final 8.
Both players delivered in the group stage this year as the 14th-ranked Auger-Aliassime didn’t make the trip and Shapovalov, the world No. 31, sat out with a knee injury.
Galarneau secured the Final 8 berth on Saturday with a 6-3, 7-6 (5) win over Chile’s Alejandro Tabilo. Diallo dropped a 6-4, 6-4 decision to Nicolas Jarry before Galarneau and Pospisil teamed for a 6-3, 7-6 (6) victory over Tabilo and Tomas Barrios Vera.
The winner of the Canada-Finland tie will play either Australia or the Czech Republic in the semifinals. The Czechs were the only team to post an unbeaten 9-0 record in the group stage.
Canada beat Finland 4-1 on outdoor clay in their only previous Davis Cup matchup in 1966 in Helsinki, Finland.
The lone Finn in the top 100 of this week’s ATP Tour’s singles rankings is Emil Ruusuvuori at No. 57.
Otto Virtanen is next at No. 126. Harri Heliovaara is ranked 30th in doubles.
Canada holds the top position in the Davis Cup rankings ahead of Spain, Australia, Croatia and Britain. Finland has jumped seven spots to No. 14.
The last country to win two straight Davis Cup crowns was the Czech Republic in 2012 and 2013.
With files from The Associated Press.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 19, 2023.