Davis Cup: Canada in command of world group playoff
Vasek Pospisil pumps his fist after winning the first set of his match on Friday. Photo: Davis Cup

Two similar scorelines both went the way of Canada on Friday in Halifax as the hosts raced ahead to an early lead in the Davis Cup world group playoff clash between the Canadians and Chile. Vasek Pospisil and Frank Dancevic each scored four-set wins over their respective Chilean opponents to give the Canadians a stranglehold on the tie after the first day of play. 

Dancevic battles to early lead

Dancevic wasted no time in taking control of the tie for the hosts. He broke Christian Garin in the Chilean’s first service game of the match, racing out to an immediate 3-0 lead. That one break point in the second game was all the Canadian veteran needed, as he rode his own strong serve through the opening set.

Frank Dancevic serves during his opening match win. Photo: Davis Cup
Frank Dancevic serves during his opening match win. Photo: Davis Cup

After being broken to start the match, Garin picked up his level and hung with his veteran opponent but, despite managing to break Dancevic in the second set, he was broken twice himself and found himself needing to break the Canadian to stay in the second set. The Chilean managed to break back to level at 5-5, but was swiftly broken again. Not deterred, Garin continued to battle and broke Dancevic once again to force a tiebreak. The comeback wasn’t over. Dancevic was in command up 5-1 in the tiebreak, but Garin mounted one last charge, reeling off six straight points to take the tiebreak 7-5 and level the match at a set apiece.

The Canadian veteran was quick to reclaim the initiative after blowing the second set, breaking Garin immediately to start the third set and, just like the first set, racing to a 3-0 lead. Dancevic continued his rampage, breaking the Chilean again and holding for a 5-0 lead. Garin finally got on the board at 1-5 before the Canadian served out the set. The fourth be the most equal, with both men matching each other shot for shot until 4-4 when Garin blinked. He was broken and found himself needing a break to stay in the rubber. The Chilean held a break point in that game, but couldn’t convert as Dancevic hung on to give the Canadians the lead in the tie.

Pospisil puts Canada in control

Nicolas Jarry could only hold of Pospisil for so long in the second rubber. Photo: Davis Cup
Nicolas Jarry could only hold of Pospisil for so long in the second rubber. Photo: Davis Cup

Looking to stamp Canada’s authority on the tie, Canadian number one Pospisil came out flying to start the second rubber against Nicolas Jarry. After exchanging holds to start the match, Pospisil took control, reeling off five straight games including two breaks of serve to seal the opening set in a mere 22 minutes. Jarry seemed to settle in after the nightmare of a first set, matching Pospisil shot for shot. The Canadian had a chance to break late at 4-4, but could not convert. Serving to stay in the set at 5-6, Pospisil finally cracked. After having not so much as faced a break point up to that point in the match, Pospisil was broken by Jarry to level the match at a set all.

The third set was nearly identical to the second. Both men held their serves fairly comfortably and Pospisil missed a break point at 4-4. This time, however, the Canadian held to love to send the set to a tiebreak. Pospisil proceeded to dominate it 7-2 to take a two-sets-to-one lead. Midway through the fourth set, the Canadian made his move, breaking Jarry and racing to a 5-2 lead. Two games later, Pospisil served out the match give the Canadians a massive 2-0 advantage.

Pospisil will look to close out the tie tomorrow when he partners with Adil Shamasdin in the doubles against Jarry and Hans Podlipnik-Castillo.