Tennis: Canada beat Russia to reach 'historic' first Davis Cup final

Canada's Frank Dancevic, Milos Raonic, Felix Auger-Aliassime, Denis Shapovalov and Vasek Pospisil celebrate after winning the semi-final doubles match against Russia.
Canada's Frank Dancevic, Milos Raonic, Felix Auger-Aliassime, Denis Shapovalov and Vasek Pospisil celebrate after winning the semi-final doubles match against Russia.PHOTO: AFP

MADRID (AFP) - Denis Shapovalov and Vasek Pospisil led Canada to their maiden Davis Cup final with victory in a deciding doubles rubber against Russia in Madrid on Saturday (Nov 23).

The 20-year-old Shapovalov had drawn Canada level by beating Karen Khachanov after Andrey Rublev's win over Pospisil in the opening match.

The Canadian pair then edged out Khachanov and Rublev in a dramatic deciding-set tie-break to set up a final clash against either Britain or hosts Spain on Sunday.

"I thought both teams played phenomenal," Canada captain Frank Dancevic said.

"The Russians threw everything they had at us, it was just a matter of who came up with the better shots. There was no room for error today - they went for their shots, went big in the big moments, and here we are into the final."

It was their third Davis Cup semi-final, after previous last-four defeats in 1913 and 2013.

"We've got a huge day, a historic day for us tomorrow, and we're going to leave it all out there," said world number 150 Pospisil.

They secured a 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (7/5) victory on their second match point to finish a tie which lasted six and a half hours.

Earlier, Shapovalov had seen off Khachanov, Russia's leading player in the absence of world number four Daniil Medvedev due to exhaustion, in a dramatic match.

The left-handed rising star, who reached his maiden Masters final in Paris earlier this month, saved three successive break points while serving for the match.

The in-form Rublev had made it four singles wins from as many matches this week by brushing aside Pospisil 6-4, 6-4.

Canada have reached the final despite being without the injured Felix Auger-Aliassime, the world number 22, with Pospisil stepping up instead.

"I'm at a loss for words," Shapovalov said.

"It's incredible how far we've come this week, with me and Vasek playing on a different level.

"It's unbelievable to see. And to clinch it like this, in the doubles, I wouldn't have it any other way."

Later on Saturday, Rafael Nadal's Spain take on Britain in the second semi-final.

British captain Leon Smith again decided to leave out three-time Grand Slam champion Andy Murray, instead selecting Kyle Edmund and Dan Evans for the two singles matches.

Edmund will face Pablo Carreno Busta before Evans takes on world number one Nadal and Jamie Murray teams up with Neal Skupski to play Marcel Granollers and Feliciano Lopez.