SPLIT, Croatia (AP) — Defending champion Canada advanced to the Final 8 of the Davis Cup on Saturday but the United States was eliminated by Finland, which reached the quarterfinals for the first time with a 3-0 win.
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 result on his fourth match point — to give debutant Finland a historic win in Split, Croatia, at the group stage of the Davis Cup Finals.
Finland joins the Netherlands in advancing out of Group D and reaching the Final 8 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!”
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 spot in Malaga.
Nicolas Jarry leveled the tie by beating Gabriel Diallo 6-4, 6-4 but a 6-3, 7-6 (7) victory for Galarneau and Vasek Pospisil over Marcelo Tomás Barrios Vera and Tabilo saw Canada clinch top spot in Group A.
Italy could join Canada in advancing from that group if it wins at least one match on Sunday in Bologna.
Last year’s runner-up Australia also ensured its return to the Final 8 with a 3-0 win over Switzerland in Manchester.
Defeat in any of the matches would have left Australia depending on the outcome of Britain’s matchup against France on Sunday.
Thanasi Kokkinakis set Australia on its way with a 6-3, 7-5 win over Dominic Stricker, and Alex de Minaur beat Marc-Andrea Huesler 6-4, 6-3.
Max Purcell and Matt Ebden then won their third match of the week in straight sets, defeating Huesler and Stricker 6-2, 6-4 to secure one of the top two spots in Group B.
“We just have a great connection on court,” Purcell said. “Such a good understanding of where we’re moving, what our strengths are and how to cover the court, which is a huge part in doubles.”
The Czech Republic beat Serbia 3-0 to clinch top spot in Group C with Tomas Machac and Adam Pavlasek beating Novak Djokovic and Nikola Cacic 7-5, 6-7 (5), 10-3. Both countries were already through with two wins each in Valencia.