Australia advanced to the Davis Cup finals for the second year in a row after Alex de Minaur and Alexei Popyrin won their singles matches in a 2-0 victory over Finland on Friday. Popyrin defeated Otto Virtanen 7-6 (5), 6-2 to give Australia a 1-0 lead in the semifinal match. De Minaur then defeated Finland’s Emil Ruusuvuori 6-4, 6-3.
Serbia’s Novak Djokovic will play Italy’s Jannik Sinner in the second semifinal match on Saturday at the Martin Carpena Arena in Malaga, Spain. Also read: Australia beats Czech Republic in the Davis Cup quarterfinals
“No Davis Cup match is easy and you don’t take anything for granted, rankings get thrown out the window,” said Australia captain Lleyton Hewitt. “We knew they were going to be tough opponents. I’m really proud of the boys.”
In the opening set, Popyrin edged Virtanen, saving a set point while down 6-5 and forced a tiebreaker, which he won after his opponent blasted a forehand long.
Finland’s hero in Tuesday’s shock of reigning champion Canada was Virtanen, who won both his singles and doubles sets. But his serve let him down in the second set against Popyrin, as his sixth double-fault lost him a break.
Australia has won 28 Davis Cups, compared to 32 for the United States, however their most recent victory was in 2003. The Finns defeated the United States and Croatia in the group round before defeating Canada to reach the semifinals for the first time. Also read: Davis Cup Winners List And Winning Prize Money
“(That was) probably the biggest win of my career so far,” Popyrin said. “To win a match that means so much for us is an honor and something I will never forget.”