After brilliant wins over the Netherlands and Croatia, Australia reached their first Davis Cup Final in 19 years – before falling 2-0 to a strong Canada team in last night’s decider.
The Aussies entered Sunday’s final carrying the momentum from a stunning semi-final win over Croatia and seeking their first title since the 2003 triumph over Spain, in Melbourne.
The 2-1 victory over the Croats was highlighted by Alex De Minaur’s 6-2, 6-2 demolition of Marin Cilic to level the tie, before Max Purcell and Jordan Thompson came from a set down to defeat former world number one doubles pair Nikola Metkic and Mate Pavic 6-7(3), 7-5, 6-4.
On Sunday, a steep task saw Australia’s singles pairing of Thanasi Kokkinakis and Alex De Minaur battling world number 6, Felix-Auger Aliassime and world number 18, Denis Shapovalov – needing one victory to force a deciding doubles rubber.
Denis Shapovalov def Thanasi Kokkinakis 6-2, 6-4
A masterclass from 23-year-old Denis Shapovalov gave Canada an ideal lead in the final.
Shapovalov took control of the match from the outset, breaking Kokkinakis in his opening two service games and racing to a 4-0 lead.
From there, the Canadian never looked back, hitting twenty-four winners to Kokkinakis’ five, and gifting the Aussie very few opportunities to mount a comeback.
Shapovalov – who lost his singles rubber in the 2019 Davis Cup Final to Rafael Nadal – got Canada off to the perfect start this time around, as they again searched for a maiden title in the event.
Felix-Auger Aliassime def Alex De Minaur 6-3, 6-4
With Australia’s Davis Cup hopes on the line, and Canada just one win from a historic team victory, the second singles rubber between Auger-Aliassime and De Minaur was a pulsating clash, filled with crucial moments.
The duo traded service holds during the opening seven games before the Canadian struck first blood, breaking De Minaur and serving his way to a one set lead.
A tense second set saw the Aussie dominate play but fail to take his opportunities when it mattered – winning 0/10 pressure points for the set.
De Minaur had a major chance to level the set at 3-2, when holding 0-40 and three break points, but Auger-Aliassime proved too powerful – hitting one of his sixteen winners to take a 4-2 lead.
Ultimately, the four-time titlist in 2022 held his nerve to claim a straight-sets victory and gift Canada its first-ever Davis Cup crown.
For Auger-Aliassime and Shapovalov – who have come through the junior ranks together and are strong friends off the court – bringing their nation its maiden title means an incredible amount.
“The emotions are tough to describe”, Auger-Aliassime said post-match.
“Denis [Shapovalov] and I grew up together, dreaming of these types of stage, dreaming of winning the Davis Cup. It’s a great moment for myself and for the country.”
Canada’s young singles pairing, who lifted the ATP Cup title for their nation in January, have now put themselves clear as the top duo in men’s national team competition.
For the Australian team, a short off-season will begin, before the newly established United Cup commences in Sydney on December 29.
The mixed-gender event is expected to feature the following Australian team:
Alex De Minaur
Full Davis Cup Finals Results:
Australia def Netherlands 2-1
Croatia def Spain 2-0
Italy def USA 2-1
Canada def Germany 2-1
Australia def Croatia 2-1
Canada def Italy 2-1
Canada def Australia 2-0