Félix Auger-Aliassime and Vasek Pospisil won the decisive doubles match in three sets of 7-5, 5-7, 6-3 at the expense of the duo formed by JiSung Nam and Min-kyu Song, who no one will confuse with the Woodies , Australia’s doubles legends.
Song ranks 223rd in doubles at the ATP, 11 ranks ahead of Nam.
In contrast, Vasek Pospisil already won the Wimbledon doubles tournament in 2014, while Auger-Aliassime won the Paris Masters 1000 in 2020.
The Canadians were trailing 3-1 in the third set, however, after Vasek Pospisil broke service with a pinched nerve near his right shoulder. They were, however, able to break their rivals’ serve twice before Pospisil ended the match with the balls in hand.
After more than 2h 18min of effort, Auger-Aliassime and Pospisil were joined on the field by captain Frank Dancevic, whose level of energy and encouragement did not drop from the match.
The Koreans played amazing tennis, Dancevic said. Our two players pushed themselves well in doubles and were able to raise their level of play in the third set. I’m proud of the team today and that includes the players on the bench.
This victory was able to make people forget a day at the office which had started very badly for the Félix Auger-Aliassime.
Earlier, the Quebecer had lost his first singles match in his first appearance in the Davis Cup since November 2019. The thirteenth racket in the world was beaten 7-6 and 6-3 by South Korean Soonwoo Kwon, 74th in the ATP.
On the home ground of Valence, Auger-Aliassime had started the game on a high note, quickly forging a 3-0 lead.
I’m happy with my level in general, because I still won the first two exchanges of the match, said the Quebecer in a press briefing. Afterwards, it was a bit complicated with the balls here to have winning services. I played a good first set, but he was playing too well afterwards. My opponent offered a very good level today.
His rival, for whom it is a first victory against a player ranked in the top 20 in the world rankings, then recovered to win the first set in a tiebreaker.
The South Korean, who had managed to snatch a set from Novak Djokovic at Wimbledon, then stole his rival’s first two serves in the second set to escape at 4-0.
Auger-Aliassime managed to break his 24-year-old rival once, but the trend was too strong and he was unable to do so a second time. The 22-year-old was happy that he was able to end his day on a high note.
It’s this format because you have an opportunity to recover, said the big right-hander. We have seen it in the past, we will see it again and that is why it is important to be resilient. We have a good team spirit, we play for the whole team and for the country. I think it’s good to have shown a good example.
Canada is in Group B with South Korea, Spain and Serbia. The Canadians will be back in action Friday against Spain and Saturday against the Serbs.
Everything suggests that Félix Auger-Aliassime will face world number one Carlos Alcaraz.
I have always enjoyed playing in conditions like these, with a close-knit team, added Auger-Aliassime. Everyone has the big picture in mind. The important thing is to try to win every game, no matter who wins the points. It could make a difference on Friday.
The recent United States Open winner leads 2019 tournament champions Spain, while Novak Djokovic is ultimately left out of the Serbia squad.
Only the top two countries in Group B will qualify for the quarter-finals to be played in November.
Vasek Pospisil gives the lead in the snatch
Over the years, the Davis Cup has had its share of surprise victories won by relatively unknown players. Hong Seong-chan, 467th in the world, came close to surprising Vasek Pospisil in the first match of the day.
Led 4-1 in the final set, the Vancouverites managed to turn the tide and finally won 4-6, 6-1 and 7-6 (7/5) in 2 h 36 min.
I haven’t had a good year with the injuries and my results, so I’m taking all the wins,” Pospisil said, smiling on the field after the game. All Davis Cup victories are great and this one is no exception.
Against an opponent who was playing significantly above his rating, Pospisil struggled to tame a rival who ran every ball as if his life depended on it. The Canadian dominated the majority of the debates, but too often his strikes lacked the bite necessary to conclude the exchanges.
In particular, he missed several relatively simple volleys. He committed 40 unforced errors against only 4 for Hong. Pospisil also, fortunately for him, largely dominated the winners column with 33 against 11.
The 141st racket in the world also got off to a very bad start by losing his service from the start. He regained his composure in the second set, which he easily won.
He will have had to draw on his reserve of energy and experience to win.
I kept fighting and I estimate I played about 90% of the game well and 10% worse. That was enough to make things complicated. I was a little nervous at the start of the match, but he played very well. He was fast and it wasn’t easy at all.
While the Canadians train on Wednesday, Spain will face Serbia.