Canada one win away from reaching first ever Davis Cup final
Canada got just what they needed from their doubles pairing on Saturday in Davis Cup semifinal action.
Vasek Pospisil and Daniel Nestor came through with a gritty five set victory - 6-7 (6), 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (7), 10-8 - over llija Bozoljac and Nenad Zimonjic on clay in Belgrade. The victory gives Canada a 2-1 advantage in the best-of-five heading into Sunday's final two matches.
With both sides holding serve from the midway point of the third set on, the Canadians got the break they needed against Serbian duo in the 17th game of the fifth and deciding set.
Tied at 8, Zimonjic, a former doubles partner of Nestor, double-faulted with the game tied at 30 - giving Canada break point. After missing on his first serve, his second service return found the net and the unforced error gave Canada a 9-8 lead. The 37-year-old veteran was clearly upset with himself for committing the crucial mistake as he fired his racket down in disgust after the point was lost.
Nestor played well at the net the entire rubber. With Canada holding the advantage and Pospisil serving on the second match point, the 41-year-old skilfully volleyed the winner by Zimonjic.
Canada opened the rubber by failing to capitalize on three set points and losing the first of two tie-breaks in the match.
After they split the second and third sets, Pospisil's ace ended the fourth set tie-break and pulled Canada even with Serbia at 2 sets each, forcing a fifth set.
The key fourth set victory was hard earned by the resilient duo who at times laboured to hold serve while the Serbian's cruised in that department. Bozoljac, a late addition to the Serbian squad, had a great service game and recorded may tough winners. However, Pospisil was not to be outmatched as he anchored his side when Nestor seemed to be running out of steam.
Nestor referred to his partner, almost two decades his junior, as "the horse" of the Canadian squad after the victory. Pospisil, 23, will play his third match in three days in what could be the deciding fifth rubber on Sunday against Janko Tipsarevic.
"I still have something left," Pospisil said to Sportsnet's Arash Madani after the gruelling match that went well over four hours.
Nestor ranked the victory as one of the greatest in his illustrious doubles career which includes at least one victory at every Grand Slam as well as an Olympic gold medal (Sydney 2000)
"This is right at the top," he said. "Moments like this is what I play for."
How much do we love these two right now? A LOT. #AnythingisPospisil #NestorForever #DavisCup #GoCanada pic.twitter.com/rXnpdM1Bw6
— Tennis Canada (@Tennis_Canada) September 14, 2013
It was the second thrilling match in which the Canadians pulled out a victory in less than 24 hours. On Friday evening, Milos Raonic won the second rubber in a similar fashion recording a 10-8 fifth set victory against Janko Tipsarevic.
Raonic will face world No. 1, Novak Djokovic in Sunday's first match. It will be for the first time they have faced each other and with a win, the Thornhill, Ont., native can send Canada to the Davis Cup final for the first time.
The Czech Republic, having already bounced Argentina in their semifinal, awaits the winner between Canada and Serbia.