On Tuesday, Finland defeated reigning champion Canada to reach the Davis Cup semifinals for the first time. In the deciding doubles match, Otto Virtanen and Harri Heliovaara defeated Alexis Galarneau and Vasek Pospisil 7-5, 6-3 to earn the 14th-ranked Finns a win against No. 1 Canada in the first of the quarterfinals in southern Spain.
Virtanen had kept Finland alive in the second singles match, defeating Gabriel Diallo 6-4, 7-5, after Milos Raonic had earned Canada the first point with a 6-3, 7-5 victory against Patrick Kaukovalta. Also read: Wimbledon’s Grand Vision: A New Stadium and 38 Courts
Prior to this year, Finland’s finest accomplishments were three participation in the World Cup playoffs, the most recent in 2002. Last year, Canada won its first Davis Cup trophy, defeating Australia in the final in Malaga.
Both countries’ top players, Felix Auger-Aliassime of Canada and Emil Ruusuvuori of Finland, were injured. Raonic, the former world No. 3, opened with four aces and never let Kaukovalta get into the match. Raonic, 32, who hadn’t played for Canada in five years, dropped only one point on service in the first set and three overall. Also read: Davis Cup Finals 2023: Preview and Schedule
Finland levelled the match when Virtanen, 22, broke serve once in each set against Diallo. Finland was cheered on by 3,000 Finnish supporters at Malaga’s Martin Carpena Arena.
“We are not in Finland but we feel like we are in Finland,” Virtanen said. “I love the pressure of playing in front of these fans, it just makes me play better every time, all the support I get. It means everything to play for my country. Today was amazing.”
Australia will play the Czech Republic in another quarterfinal on Wednesday, while on Thursday it will be Italy against the Netherlands and Great Britain against Novak Djokovic‘s Serbia. Also read: ATP Finals: Novak Djokovic Won His Seventh ATP Finals Championship