Great Britain Vs Canada – 2017 Davis Cup
The first weekend of February saw a number of Davis Cup ties take place. The results of all will be rounded up at the end of this post, but I wanted to focus on one particular tie… because it featured my home nation. Great Britain Vs Canada saw my native Great Britain travel to Canada… and it didn’t end the way you might have expected.
No Big Guns
Between them, Canada and Great Britain boast two of the top four players in the world. Unfortunately, both world number one, Andy Murray, and world number four, Milos Raonic, were absent for this tie. Both players are at the very top of the game at the moment, the scheduling following the Australian Open was a bit of an ask.
Still, Great Britain still sported two top 50 players and one half of the best doubles team in the world last year. Canada had Vasek Pospisil and the home advantage.
Great Britain Vs Canada
Dan Evans kicked off the tie against promising young Canadian, Denis Shapovalov. Shapovalov put up an admirable fight, but it was Evans who took the match in straight sets. Continuing the fine run of form that has seen him reach his first ATP final and his first Grand Slam fourth round already this year, he never really looked in danger against the 17 year old.
It was a different story for the former British number two, whom Evans overtook with his Australian Open run. Kyle Edmund faces Vasek Pospisil in a match that, on paper, he should have won. Pospisil is currently ranked 133 in the world, far below Edmund’s 47 rank. As is so often the case, however, things did not go the way they should on paper. The more experienced Pospisil was able to comfortably take the match in straight sets, with only a tiebreak in the final set putting him under pressure.
Dominic Inglot teamed up with Jamie Murray for the doubles, and they took on Daniel Nestor and Vasek Pospisil. In a tight match that saw three of the four sets go to tiebreakers, the Brits were able to triumph and give Britain a 2—1 lead in the tie.
Pospisil soon corrected that scoreline with a hard fought win over Dan Evans in the third singles match. It took him four sets to overcome the British number two, with two of those four sets being decided on a tiebreaker. However close the set was, however, Canada had levelled the score once more. At 2—2, we were going into a deciding rubber between the tie’s youngsters.
Edmund Vs Shapovalov – Drama!
Between them, these two players have a combined age lower than some active players So it’s hard to imagine what must have been going through their minds. The result of the tie, and their nations Davis Cup success, rested squarely on their shoulders.
Kyle Edmund was the clear favourite. Being four years more experienced, not to mention being ranked nearly 200 places above him. And that’s pretty much how the match went. Edmund took the first two sets relatively comfortably, 6—3, 6—4. He then broke Shapovalov to go 2—1 up in the third set.
That’s when the unexpected happened.
In his frustration at being broken by Edmunds, Shapovalov swatted a ball into the crowd with some force. It never reached the crowd, however, because the umpire Arnaud Gabas’ face was in the way! The ball struck him in the left eye with enough force to rebound back past Shapovalov, who immediately knew how serious his mistake was.
With his eye rapidly swelling under a hastily fetched ice pack, Gabas called the match to a close; Great Britain winning the fifth match—and the tie—on a default.
It’s not the way Britain will have wanted to win. It’s certainly not the way Canada wanted to lose. It was a reckless accident from the young Canadian who was immediately apologetic and understood the implications. And, lets face it, at two sets and a break down, the match was pretty much over regardless.
Fortunately, Shapovalov doesn’t seem to be getting too hard a time for his error. Reactions have ranged from it being a silly mistake that he should learn from to;
No one is nicer or carries themselves better for a 17 y/o than Shapovalov. Everyone can see that today was an accident. Can happen to anyone
— Vasek Pospisil (@VasekPospisil) February 5, 2017
But it’s done now, Denis Shapovalov will learn from this experience. In the more immediate future, however, Great Britain are through to the quarter finals… where France awaits.