Davis Cup drama as USA suffer ‘huge’ defeat to Finland
The Davis Cup Finals Group Stage have seen a major upset, with Finland knocking out 32-time champions USA to reach the quarter-finals for the first time.
Finnish No.1 Emil Ruusuvuori got the deciding victory to send his country into the knockout stages, beating Australian Open semi-finalist Tommy Paul, 7-6(5) 6-4.
Ruusuvuori spoke about what this victory meant for him and his nation, “You can hear it from the (fans). It means a lot for the whole country, for tennis in Finland. It’s a huge thing. We’re going to Malaga!”
— Davis Cup (@DavisCup) September 16, 2023
The 24-year-old had been forced to miss the US Open due to illness and despite revealing that he struggled against the world No.13, managed to come through in straight sets.
“I skipped the US Open as I was sick and didn’t come here in really good shape. I struggled today physically and it was a bit tough in the beginning,” explained Ruusuvuori. “But you just have to keep fighting. I was able to find a way in two long sets.”
Finland and the USA were part of Group D alongside the Netherlands and hosts Croatia, with the group being held in Split.
Both nations had beaten Croatia, but had fallen to defeat to the Dutch, who had already secured their qualification to the knockout stages in Malaga.
This left Finland and USA vying for that final qualification spot from Group D, with US captain Bob Bryan bringing in Mackenzie McDonald to replace Frances Tiafoe, who had lost both of his singles rubbers this week.
McDonald was taking on Finnish No.2 Otto Virtanen, who is ranked almost 100 places lower than him at No.125, in the opening rubber.
However, it was the underdog Virtanen who came through with the victory, saving two match points on his way to a, 7-6(5) 1-6 7-6(7), win.
Finland completed the clean sweep later on in day in the doubles, as Harri Heliövaara and Patrick Kaukovalta beat new doubles No.1 Austin Krajicek and US Open champion Rajeev Ram.
Davis Cup quarter-final lineup
The Davis Cup knockout stages take place in Malaga between 21st and 26th November this year, and this is who will be there:
- Canada (Defending champions)
- The Netherlands
- Czech Republic
Yet to be confirmed:
- Either Great Britain or France (Winner of the tie taking place later today)
- Either Italy or Chile (Italy need to win just one rubber in their tie against Sweden today)
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