Auger-Aliassime leads Canada past Italy into Davis Cup final
MÁLAGA, Spain (AP) — Felix Auger-Aliassime led Canada to its second ever Davis Cup final after winning both his singles and doubles rubbers in a 2-1 fightback over Italy on Saturday.
The 22-year-old Auger-Aliassime, whose four career titles have all come this year, will look to finish off his season by leading Canada to its first Davis Cup title on Sunday when it faces Australia.
“This has been a special journey in a special year,” Auger-Aliassime said. “I think this is the most complete team we have had in the history of Canadian tennis and we deserve to be in this position.”
Lorenzo Sonego ground out a 7-6 (4), 6-7 (5), 6-4 victory over Denis Shapovalov in 3 hours, 15 minutes to put Italy ahead.
Auger-Aliassime pulled the Canadians level by seeing off Lorenzo Musetti 6-3, 6-4, sending it to doubles in front of 9,000 spectators in Málaga, Spain.
The sixth-ranked Auger-Aliassime could barely rest before he teamed up with Vasek Pospisil to defeat Matteo Berrettini and Fabio Fognini 7-6 (2), 7-5. The Canadians recovered from breaks in each set.
“I feel like in the Davis Cup there is no time to get tired,” Auger-Aliassime said. “We got broken in both sets and we bounced back with the right attitude. Once we had our back against the wall you just try your best, and luckily today it went our way.”
In September, Auger-Aliassime helped Canada beat Spain in the group stage with a win over new top-ranked Carlos Alcaraz.
Canada made the tournament this year as a wild card to replace defending champion Russia, which was suspended because of the invasion of Ukraine.
Auger-Aliassime, Shapovalov and Pospisil were all on the Canada team that lost to Spain in the 2019 final.
Now they can try to put Canada on top.
Italy, whose sole title came in 1976, was trying to reach its first final since 1998.
Berrettini was a last-minute change for Italy in the doubles. He replaced Simone Bolelli, who Italy captain Filippo Volandri said was not fit to play. The 16th-ranked Berrettini had been nursing a hurt foot that had sidelined him in the quarterfinals when his team beat the United States. Berrettini said he played as best as he could against Canada despite not being fully fit.
“You could see how much I care about this competition,” Berrettini said. “Obviously I wasn’t at my best level. I just gave my heart and it wasn’t enough.”
On Friday, Australia rallied to beat Croatia and reach its first final since 2003, when it won its 28th title.
The final is likely to pit Auger-Aliassime against the No. 24-ranked Alex de Minaur in singles. Auger-Aliassime beat the Australian in August in their only previous meeting.
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