Davis Cup Finals 2019, Day 1: Russia, Belgium and Canada register wins to take top spot in their groups
The first day of Davis Cup Finals action began at the Caja Magica Stadium in Madrid where defending champions Croatia began proceedings in the 108th edition of the tournament. This is the first time that the Davis Cup Finals is being held over a week with 18 nations vying for the top spot, fighting along the terms of the new format. Divided over 6 groups, the first day of the tournament saw Belgium, Russia and Canada putting their best foot forward and registering wins in their ties.
For the defending champions from Croatia, it was a crushing 3-0 loss at the hands of Russia. Andy Rublev displayed powerful form and defeated Borna Gojo while Karen Khachanov, the World No. 17 was also relentless and powered through against Borna Coric in three thrilling sets. The doubles pair of Karen Khachanov/Andy Rublev then easily took down the pair of Ivan Dodig/Nikola Mektic, the top players from the Croatian team. With this victory, Russia is at the top of Group B in Davis Cup Finals.
It was a dicey tie between Belgium and Colombia with the only saving grace for the South American team being in their doubles match. Belgium dominated the singles encounters with experienced players David Goffin handing Daniel Elahi Galan a 3-6, 6-3, 6-3 defeat.
Steve Darcis kept Belgium ahead of their Group D opponents with a straight-sets win against Santiago Giraldo. For Colombia, it was top seeds Robert Farah and Juan-Sebastian Cabal who took down Sander Gille/Joran Vliegen and gave Colombia lone victory.
In the final tie of the day, it was Team Italy who clashed with Canada, who are powered by the young blood of Denis Shapovalov and Vasek Pospisil. They pulled off a surprise victory against the favoured Italians, winning 2-1 to stay at the top of Group F.
Vasek Pospisil, who came in as a late replacement for Felix Auger-Aliassime, beat World No. 12 Fabio Fognini 7-6(5), 7-5. The fifteenth-ranked Shapovalov then beat Matteo Berrettini 7-6(5), 6-7(3), 7-6(5). The Italian duo, however, came back to beat the Canadian pair 6-2, 3-6, 6-3, as Canada beat Italy 2-1 in the encounter and go top of Group F.