Gritty effort by Vasek Pospisil in final rubber as Canada bows out of Davis Cup Semifinal

The Eh Game

The way Canada's 2013 Davis Cup run ended was poignant.

Vasek Pospisil, playing his third match in three days, on the ropes - down two sets to none, fighting off four match points before sacrificing his body on one last point that would extend a match which already looked to be in the books.

Scroll to continue with content
Ad

The ecstasy and the agony.

The Serbian team enveloped Janko Tipsarevic, the former top 10 ranked player that defeated Pospisil to clinch the semifinal victory in the fifth and deciding rubber.

Pospisil, 23, sat with a towel draped over his head and tears in his eyes, while the training staff worked on his leg.

Canada had a historic run at this tournament in 2013, winning their first ever World Group matches, defeating Spain (minus Rafael Nadal) and then downing Italy in the quarterfinals.

Their march to the semifinal of the Davis Cup, along some great individual performances on both the ATP and WTA tour this year, has garnered plenty of attention from fans and the media for a sport that does not exactly get top billing in this country.

Captain Martin Laurendeau, who is normally highly composed and chooses his words very carefully became choked up when asked about what has transpired for the Canadian squad over the past 12 months.

"To me it goes beyond words," Laurendeau said to Sportsnet's Arash Madani in an on-court interview shortly after the match.

He then paused, his eyes became watery. "We have come along way and we are really proud of our boys," he continued. "We made giant strides, tennis has just blossomed, we have taken this sport to a new level thanks to these guys."

Truth be told, Canada faced an uphill battle despite holding a 2-1 lead in the tie heading into Sunday's final matches.

To start the day, Milos Raonic, whose power game was dampened by the clay surface, had to contend with top ranked Novak Djokovic in their first ever meeting. After winning the first set tie-break, Djokovic blew by Raonic 7-6 (1), 6-2, 6-2, for the straight sets victory that leveled the tie at two.

Laurendeau told Madani that Roanic was playing with a level one ankle sprain. The injury appeared to sustained in the third set of Friday's match against Tipsarevic.

Pospisil also failed to win a set, falling 7-6 (3), 6-2, 7-6 (6), losing tie-breaks in the first and third sets.

After losing handily in the second set, Pospisil came alive after going down a break in the third. His unexpected comeback had Tipsarevic on his heels and forced a tie-break which he trailed 5-1, before storming back to tie it at 6.

With Tipsarevic up 7-6 and serving for the match, Pospisil landed a cross court diving shot but his Serbian foe was able to stretch out and get his racquet on the ball for a high arching winner.

Laurendeau explained that although Canada did not get the victory, there was a lot to take away from what transpired this weekend.

"This loss is somewhere just as gratifying (as the two previous victories over Spain and Italy)," Laurendeau said. "The way we lost, we showed great pride and great character and showed the spirit on Canadian Tennis."

The tournament began Friday, the highlight being Roanic's gritty five set victory over Tipsarevic to level the tie at 1.

Saturday, Daniel Nestor and Pospisil won a thrilling five set rubber in doubles play over Nenad Zimonjic and lljia Bozoljac.

However, Serbia, who captured the 2010 Davis Cup, proved to be too strong. Djokovic won both of his matches and will now lead his country into what promises to be a spirited final against the Czech Republic next month.

"Our run ended but we showed what we are capable of." Laurendeau said. "I think we can dream of going even further in one year."

What to Read Next