Pospisil strong as he evens Davis Cup tie with Great Britain
Denis Shapovalov loses opening match to Daniel Evans
Vancouver's Vasek Pospisil has been looking for a turn around in his game. He may have found it at the Davis Cup.
Pospisil was stellar in a 6-4, 6-1, 7-6 win over Kyle Edmund on Friday, helping Canada tie Britain 1-1 in their Davis Cup World Group series after Denis Shapovalov of Richmond Hill, Ont., dropped the first match of the day to Daniel Evans 6-3, 6-3, 6-4.
Pospisil, who has had his share of struggles over the past 12 months, finished his match with 19 aces and four double faults and gave the supportive Canadian crowd of 6,962 at TD Place a few fist pumps, which is somewhat out of character for him.
"I've been struggling of late to get some momentum and rhythm and matches and confidence and training really well and playing at a high level and then not necessarily executing and it's been a bit frustrating," Pospisil said. "I knew I was going to click at some point and hopefully this is a bit of a turning point for me."
The two countries will be back in action Saturday afternoon as Toronto's Daniel Nestor and Pospisil face Jamie Murray and Dominic Inglot in doubles action.
There was some concern when Pospisil called a medical timeout during the first set as he appeared to have some issues with his left knee, but he continued and went on to win the set.
The 26-year-old doesn't anticipate the knee causing him any further trouble over the course of the weekend. He plans on receiving treatment and says the flare up was likely due to training in preparation for the event.
Pospisil had Edmund running all over the court and frustration was setting in as the Briton had no response for the Canadian's game.
Edmund was visibly distraught following the loss and struggled to justify his performance.
"My performance was just not good enough really, pretty dismal by my standards," said Edmund. "It just wasn't good enough for me (Friday). It needs to be a lot better to be honest at this level."
After a lengthy first set, Pospisil took over in the second as Edmund had 11 unforced errors to Pospisil's one.
Edmund fought back in the third set and was up 5-4, but Pospisil came back to tie it 6-6 and force the tiebreaker.
An ace followed by a double fault allowed Pospisil to go up 6-2, delighting the boisterous crowd. Pospisil then rifled down a serve which Edmund was unable to return to seal the win.
Team Canada captain Martin Laurendeau was impressed with Pospisil's game and his ability to remain focused despite the bothersome knee.
"This was super important for the team and for Vasek," said Laurendeau. "It's a win that's going to give him confidence for the rest of the weekend as Saturday's (doubles) is a big match."
Edmund was his harshest critic and knows he will need to regroup quickly.
"It's important for me not to drag the team down with the view about myself," said Edmund. "This week is about the team and there's still three rubbers to go. We still have lots of tennis to go and the team has always had high spirits and (Saturday) is a new day."
Earlier in the day, Evans, ranked 45th in the world, was the heavy favourite, but the 17-year-old Shapovalov challenged him at times.
Shapovalov happy with performance
"I don't think I did too bad to be honest," said Shapovalov. "I think (Evans) played very well on the big points and I just couldn't convert on the big points. I think I handled it pretty well, but obviously I would want to do better, but he's playing with a lot of confidence right now and he's a great player so it's very tough to go against someone when they're hot."
Maturity and patience were the difference as Evans took advantage of Shapovalov's numerous errors. Shapovalov had 39 unforced errors in comparison to Evans's 19.
"I was a bit nervous," said Evans. "I was obviously playing Shapovalov and it would be a big upset if he beat me so I had to focus pretty hard throughout the whole match and put him to bed and keep him down for the whole match."
Trailing two sets to none, Shapovalov looked to mount a comeback in the third and seemed to be playing with more confidence, but Evans fought back and broke serve in the ninth game and went on to win the 10th to defeat Shapovalov in straight sets.
The left-hander tried to play to his strengths, being aggressive, playing close to the net and using his big serve, but Evans seemed to have an answer for everything.