Underdog Finland stunned the 32-time champion United States on Saturday to seal its place in the tournament. Davis cup quarterfinals for the first time, while the Czech Republic, Australia and defending champion Canada advanced.
Otto Virtanen saved two match points in the decisive tiebreaker to beat Mackenzie McDonald 7-6 (5), 1-6, 7-6 (7) and Emil Ruusuvuori defeated Tommy Paul 7-6 (1), 6-4 , sealing the victory. result on his fourth match point: giving debutant Finland a historic victory in Split, Croatia, in the group stage of the Davis Cup final.
Finland joins the Netherlands in advancing out of Group D and reaching the quarterfinals in the southern Spanish city of Malaga in November.
“You can hear it from the (fans). It means a lot for the whole country, for tennis in Finland. “It’s a huge thing,” Ruusuvuori said. “We’re going to Malaga!”
He added: “I skipped the US Open because I was sick and I didn’t come here in very good shape. Today I had problems physically and at first it was a little hard. But you just have to keep fighting. I was able to find a way in two long sets.”
Canada beat Chile 2-1. Alexis Galarneau’s 6-3, 7-6 (5) victory over Alejandro Tabilo in the opening match was enough to secure Canada’s place in Malaga.
Nicolás Jarry leveled the tie by beating Gabriel Diallo 6-4, 6-4, but a 6-3, 7-6 (7) victory by Galarneau and Vasek Pospisil over Marcelo Tomás Barrios Vera y Tabilo allowed Canada to take first Group A position.
Italy could join Canada in advancing from that group if it wins at least one match on Sunday in Bologna.
Australia, last year’s runners-up, also secured their return to the quarterfinals. with a 3-0 victory over Switzerland in Manchester.
A loss in either match would have left Australia dependent on the outcome of Great Britain’s clash with France on Sunday.
The Czech Republic beat Serbia 3-0 to take first place in Group C, with Novak Djokovic losing in doubles to Nikola Cacic. Both countries were already qualified with two victories each in Valencia.
Laslo Djere, who was in good form during the group stage of the finals, overcame a back problem and fought deep to save four match points in his clash with Jiri Lehecka, but lost 7-6(7) and 7- 5 while the Czechs prevailed.
“I’m happy with the victory, it’s as simple as that. Laslo is a great guy and an even better player, so for me to play against him on this court was a big challenge,” Lehecka said after securing first place in the group for his nation.
“He makes some incredible shots and never gives up. Even when he was up 4-1 in the second set, he was still there waiting for his moment. I should have added something to my level and it turned out well.”
The teams will travel to Malaga to compete in the qualifiers that will take place from November 21 to 26.