Davis Cup Finals 2019: Day 1 round-up

Karen Khachanov of Russia during Day 2 of the 2019 Davis Cup at La Caja Magica on November 19, 2019 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Oscar Gonzalez/NurPhoto)

Canada, Russia and Belgium were all victorious on the opening day of the 2019 Davis Cup Finals at the Caja Magica, Madrid.

Here is a round-up of the first set of round-robin ties at the reformed event:

Italy 1 – 2 Canada

In Group F, Canada – who are looking to win their first Davis Cup – got off the mark with an impressive win against Italy.

Vasek Pospisil upset world no.12 Fabio Fognini 7-6 (7-5) 7-5 in the first singles rubber.

Then, in the day’s best match, Denis Shapovalov beat Matteo Berrettini 7-6 (7-5) 6-7 (3-7) 7-6 (7-5) in a near three-hour epic, in which there were no breaks of serve.

Berrettini and Fognini saw off Pospisil and Shapovalov in a 6-2 3-6 6-3 battle, finishing after midnight local time, earning Italy the doubles rubber.

Italy face sixth-seeded USA in a must-win tie on Wednesday.

Croatia 0 – 3 Russia

In Group B, Russia made a strong start in their bid to win a third Davis Cup title – despite being weakened by the withdrawal of Daniil Medvedev.

Defending champions Croatia were also missing a key singles player through injury – 2014 US Open champion Marin Cilic.

Andrey Rublev was too good for Cilic’s replacement, 280-ranked Borna Gojo, in a 6-3 6-3 singles win.

Karen Khachanov then came from behind to beat Borna Coric 6-7 (4-7) 6-4 6-4 in the second singles rubber, giving Russia an unassailable 2-0 lead.

Later, Khachanov and Rublev teamed up in the doubles to beat Ivan Dodig and Nikola Mektic 7-6 (7-3) 6-4, completing a clean sweep.

Croatia now have to beat hosts and tournament favourites, Spain, on Wednesday, to have a chance of progressing to the quarter-finals.

Belgium 2 – 1 Colombia

In Group D, three-time finalists and fourth-seeds Belgium started their campaign by beating Colombia.

Steve Darcis dropped only 10 points on serve in a dominant 6-3 6-2 win against Santiago Giraldo, which lasted just 65 minutes.

World no. 11 David Goffin then battled past Colombia’s Daniel Elahi Galan Riveros 3-6 6-3 6-3, in a surprisingly tough contest, to secure the tie for Belgium.

No.1-ranked doubles pair Juan-Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah beat Sander Gille and Joran Vliegen 6-7 (5-7) 6-4 7-6 (7-3) to salvage a rubber for the South Americans.

Colombia must beat ninth-seeded Australia on Tuesday to keep their hopes alive.

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