Canada scrapped into the final with a hard fought victory over defending champs Russia by winning the doubles on Saturday. The doubles pitting Auger Aliassime-Shapovalov and Safiullin-Medvedev went to a seventeenth game. That earned the right to face Spain who were without Rafa Nadal who is playing in the Melbourne were relying on Bautista Agut to keep them in the tie after Carreno Busta lost his match against Shapovalov. He faced Felix A.A who lost his match against Medvedev rather poorly. Roberto is one of the safest players on Tour. I use the word “safe” because he doesn’t get a lot of Aces but would rather hit the right areas to initiate the rally. His groundstroke game in phenomenal though and it put him in early control of the first set. He was outlasted though by Felix in the third game at 2-0(15-30) to go down double break point.
He showed great defense at 15-40 to stay longer in the point and was unlucky that the net cord set up Felix for the break back. The battle from the baseline in the first was as evenly matched as the attire they were donning. The shot of the match was at 3-2 Roberto(0-30). Now I hate to be a buzz kill but I don’t think Roberto meant it. I think the idea was to lob Felix , the ball going cross court rather than down the line. You can see there is not much court to aim at down the line. The shank ended up being a great shot either way so I would take it. Set imminently went to a tie breaker. Tie breaker turning point was at 2-1 Felix. The net coverage by Roberto wasn’t bad but the passing shot was just all power from Felix. Felix’s forehand 7-6 Roberto first set.
Second set saw Felix crank up the service speed a bit. In total he had 15 Aces for the game to none for Roberto and that for me was the difference. The younger player was outlasting the older player in the rallies so Roberto needed to keep the points short which he didn’t. Check out 4-3(15-15) to see what I mean. Felix would break decisively in that game and Roberto was really up against it. What was left was for Felix to hold serve to win the Cup for Canada for the first time. Serving at 64% first serve you would be brave to put your money against him doing so. He did it for the loss of a single point. Canada who have never won a Davis Cup will savor the moment. The doubles win over Russia was THE MOMENT the Cup was won for me.