Pospisil propels Canada into Davis Cup World Group
Vasek Pospisil has carried Canada's Davis Cup team into the elite World Group.
Vancouver's Pospisil finished the weekend undefeated after a 6-2, 7-6 (3), 6-4 victory over Israel's Amir Weintraub in the deciding match Sunday of the World Group playoff tie.
When Israel's Dudi Sela defeated Peter Polansky 6-3, 6-3, 6-3 earlier in the day to tie the series 2-2, Canada's re-entry into the 16-country elite tier rested on the the 21-year-old Pospisil's shoulders.
"When it came down to me I was ready to go and I was ready to fight until the last point," said Pospisil.
Thanks to Pospisil, Canada moves to the World Group in 2012 for the first time since 2004.
He proved to be a workhorse for the visitors, winning Canada's singles opener Friday — a five-hour marathon against Sela — and taking the doubles match with Toronto veteran Daniel Nestor on Saturday.
The last Canadian to win three rubbers in a tie was Nestor in 2000.
"I didn't have that much left in the tank, but just enough to play one more match," said Pospisil. "I left everything out there. Lot of it was adrenalin."
Pospisil, ranked No. 124 in the world, opened the match showing no fatigue as he broke to go up 2-0, served seven aces and speeded to a 6-2 set finish in under 30 minutes.
The No. 182-ranked Weintraub broke back to make it 3-2 in the second, then battled Pospisil through five break points threats before taking a two-game lead.
Pospisil evened the set with a backhand winner down the line and served his way to a 6-5 lead with a pair of aces. He won the tiebreaker with a blistering forehand winner from out of position that left Weintraub stunned.
Weintraub held for a 4-3 lead in the third when Pospisil failed to convert on a double break opportunity.
But Pospisil made no mistake with a triple break point to go up 6-5, giving him a chance to serve for the match and give Canada the win.
His match point winner was an incredible forehand shot while scrambling from corner to corner. He collapsed on the court and was mobbed by his Canadian teammates.
"He played like a veteran," said Canadian captain Martin Laurendeau. Coming through on pressure situations in singles and doubles. It's incredible.
"I hope this run continues for him for awhile. He's really unstoppable right now."
Pospisil finished the match with a dominating 27 aces, compared to just one for Weintraub.
Polansky was playing in place of fellow Thornhill, Ont., native Milos Raonic who was forced to pull out of the tournament.
Raonic, Canada's top-ranked player, was still feeling the effects of a bout of food poisoning from earlier in the week, as well as playing his first match in three months after injuring his hip in June.
Raonic's return to tennis was a 5-7, 7-5, 6-3, 6-1 loss to Weintraub which gave Canada a split on the first day at Canada Stadium in the suburbs of Tel Aviv.
The stadium's atmosphere proved to be a raucous one over the weekend, as the highly-vocal audience cheered on the home side. In each match the chair referee was forced to make repeated pleas for silence during serves.
"We had a chat with the referee before today's match," said Laurendeau. "It's a tough balancing act for those guys. They have to step in and drawn the line and the fans keep pushing that line further and further. Luckily our guys were able to focus."
Earlier this year, Canada defeated Mexico 4-1 and then completed a spirited 3-2 comeback victory against Ecuador in away ties.
The next World Group first round tie will be played in February next year.
The draw for opponent and choice of ground will take place this Wednesday in Bangkok, Thailand.
Israel remains in its zonal group for next year's competition.