Auger-Aliassime's straight-sets win propels Canada to Davis Cup final

Teenager Felix Auger-Aliassime lifted Canada into the Davis Cup final, downing Norbert Gombos of Slovakia 6-3, 6-4 on Saturday to win the best-of-five tie 3-2 in Bratislava.

Teammate Denis Shapovalov downed Slovakian opponent earlier Saturday

Felix Auger-Aliassime, middle, celebrates with his Canadian teammates, including Denis Shapavolov, right, after defeating Slovakia's Norbert Gombos in straight sets at the Davis Cup qualifier on Saturday in Bratislava. The Davis Cup final will be played in November at Madrid. (Vladimir Simicek/AFP/Getty Images)

​Teenager Felix Auger-Aliassime lifted Canada into the Davis Cup final, downing Norbert Gombos of Slovakia 6-3, 6-4 on Saturday to win the best-of-five tie 3-2 in Bratislava.

It was the second win of the day in three matches for the Canadians, who trailed 2-1 in the tie after losing the doubles match 3-6, 7-5, 6-3 to open Saturday's action.

Canada will play the Davis Cup final in Madrid in November.

WATCH | Canadian teens advance at Davis Cup:

It took all 5 rubbers with the Slovaks but Canadian teenagers Denis Shapovalov and Felix Auger-Aliassime qualified Canada for the Davis Cup final in Madrid in November. 1:41

Denis Shapovalov of Richmond Hill, Ont., forced the deciding fifth match when he defeated Martin Klizan 7-6 (4), 6-4, giving Montreal's Auger-Aliassime the chance to close it out.

Shapovalov and Auger-Aliassime played all five of Canada's matches.

"For my part that's what you have to learn as a player," Auger-Aliassime said of rebounding from the doubles loss earlier in the day and his singles loss on Friday. "Every week you play matches so you get tough losses and you have to bounce back and the same thing this weekend.

"I lost [in singles on Friday], it doesn't mean the tie is over. It didn't really affect my confidence. … We were still in the tie and we believed until the end. So good effort from us."

Canadian celebration in stands

The 19-year-old Shapovalov is ranked No. 25. Auger-Aliassime, who doesn't turn 19 until August, is the youngest player in the top 200 at No. 106.

Auger-Aliassime, making his Davis Cup debut during the two-day event at NTC Arena, broke Gombos for a 5-4 lead in the second set and held serve to win it.

WATCH | Auger-Aliassime is all aces in putting away Slovakian:

In the fifth and final rubber, Montreal's Felix Auger-Aliassime blasted two aces in a row to defeat Slovakia's Norbert Gombos and secure Canada's spot in the Davis Cup finals this November in Madrid. 1:34

Shapovalov said he had no doubt his young Canadian teammate could pull off the victory.

"If he comes out playing his game he's very powerful and a very tough player to play against, so I'm very confident," Shapovalov said before Auger-Aliassime's match.

A jubilant Canadian team, led by Auger-Aliassime draped in a Canada flag, climbed into the stands after his win to celebrate with fans.

Auger-Aliassime won 82 per cent of his first-service points and converted on two of four break points against his 255th-ranked opponent. The match lasted one hour 29 minutes.

Slow start

Shapovalov needed 1:45 to dispatch the No. 38 Klizan earlier Saturday, firing six aces and 22 total winners and winning 70 per cent of his first-service games.

Shapovalov gave Canada an early edge in the series on Friday, beating Filip Horansky in the first singles match. But Klizan downed Auger-Aliassime to knot the clay-court series at a win apiece and the Slovakians beat the young Canadians in doubles in the first match Saturday.

WATCH | Shapovalov put Canada in position to advance:

After dropping their doubles match earlier in the day, the Richmond Hill, Ont. native survived a win-or-go-home rubber against Slovak Martin Klizan in Bratislava, Slovakia. 1:22

"It's definitely physically tough to play after a doubles match, I think we were both feeling it on the court," Shapovalov said. "I had a little trouble getting into [Saturday's singles match] but once I got into it the adrenaline really took me and I felt really fresh."

The Canadian team, captained by Frank Dancevic, was missing No. 15 Milos Raonic of Thornhill, Ont., and No. 94 Vasek Pospisil of Vancouver, who underwent back surgery last month. Toronto's Daniel Nestor, who retired last year, was a doubles star and mainstay on the Davis Cup team for years.

It was the first time Slovakia and Canada had met in a Davis Cup since 1997. Slovakia won that meeting 4-1 in Montreal.


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