On the dou­ble

Nestor, Pospisil team up to push Canada ahead

Edmonton Sun - - SPORTS - TERRY JONES tjones@post­media.com @sun­ter­ryjones

They were sup­posed to be un­der­dogs.

They were the 45-year-old legend on his last legs com­ing off a se­cond-rate sea­son and a sin­gles player scratched from Fri­day’s opener as he bat­tles back from a back in­jury, who re­tired from his first match at the U.S. Open in New York and hadn’t played since.

It was dou­bles day at the Davis Cup tie and Canada was con­sid­ered to be in dou­ble trou­ble.

In­dia went in as the higher-ranked pair with Ro­han Bopanna ranked No. 19 in the world in dou­bles and Pu­rav Raja at No. 36.

Canada’s Daniel Nestor, one of the great­est dou­bles play­ers in his­tory and a for­mer World No. 1, went in ranked No. 43, while Vasek Pospisil, in­ac­tive in the two-man game most of the year, fell to No. 111.

But a funny thing hap­pened on the way to Sun­day’s sin­gles re­ver­sal day to give 18-year-old sen­sa­tion of the na­tion De­nis Shapovalov a chance to put the In­di­ans away (1 p.m.) in the fourth match of the be­stof-five event to send Canada to the World Group — the sweet 16 — for a sev­enth con­sec­u­tive year.

Canada won 7-5, 7-5, 5-7 and 6-3.

For his part, 27-year-old Pospisil said he never con­sid­ered he and his el­derly part­ner un­der­dogs for a mo­ment.

“Danny and I were play­ing at home. And I was able to con­jure up in my mind play­ing in the dou­bles Satur­day when I was re­placed from the sin­gles Fri­day,” he said of the de­ci­sion to lead off with rookie Bray­den Sch­nur in the opener and save him for the dou­bles and the rub­ber match of the best-of-five sin­gles should Shapovalov lose to­day.

“I think it played a big part in the win to­day for two rea­sons,” Pospisil said. “One, I wasn’t ready to play sin­gles on Fri­day. I was pretty beat up.

“The other part of it is I could pre­pare more on dou­bles stuff know­ing it was go­ing to be my first match.

“A lot of times it’s been sin­gles, dou­bles, sin­gles,” he said of be­ing Canada’s main man play­ing all three days. “I think (Satur­day) was one of my bet­ter dou­bles days in all of my Davis Cup ap­pear­ances.

“Not hav­ing that match on Fri­day changed a lot of things. It was a good move in terms of the match to­day,” said the 14-time Davis Cup vet­eran.

Pospisil said he thinks he’s good to go in a fifth rub­ber if needed.

“I’m just go­ing to see how I re­act Sun­day morn­ing to be hon­est with you. I want to play, ob­vi­ously. This is the first time I was able to even spend more than a few hours on the court.

“This was what was sup­posed to hap­pen, though. I was sup­posed to start feel­ing bet­ter this week. Not for Fri­day, which is why I didn’t play.

“The tim­ing is work­ing out per­fect where I will be ready to go Sun­day based on my per­for­mance in dou­bles. Phys­i­cally, I will be ready to go for sure. But it won’t be my de­ci­sion.”

Cap­tain Martin Lau­ren­deau said it’ll be a game-day de­ci­sion.

“Our plan through­out this whole has been to go through one tie at a time, es­pe­cially with Vasek in his sit­u­a­tion. It’s the same now,” he said.

“We’ll see how he feels. But right now, the fo­cus is on De­nis be­cause he’s first up. We’ll see how Vasek is (Sun­day) and talk with our med­i­cal peo­ple, and hope­fully, do the right thing. But right now, there’s no call to make. Right now the fo­cus is on De­nis.”

Nestor said he thought it was a toss-up when it came to who should be favoured in dou­bles.

“I thought it was 50-50,” said Nestor, the most suc­cess­ful player in all of Canadian Davis Cup his­tory with now 48 wins in­clud­ing his sin­gles ap­pear­ances. “They’re a solid team. They’ve had a lot of suc­cess on the tour, es­pe­cially lately. It was a close match and we were very for­tu­nate to get ahead early and stay ahead.

“I thought I played pretty solid to­day. I didn’t feel like I helped the team the last cou­ple of years as much as be­fore that. Hope­fully, I can play some more matches,” he said of the idea of putting Canada in po­si­tion to win this thing and move on to World Group play in Fe­bru­ary.

Nestor, play­ing in his 51st Davis Cup tie, played his 54th dou­bles game and in­creased his ca­reer record to 33-11 while Pospisil, in his 13th Davis Cup in dou­bles, in now 8-5.

From an In­dia per­spec­tive Bopanna mar­velled at Nestor, a for­mer dou­bles part­ner of his on the tour.

“I think he al­ways plays very well in the Davis Cup, es­pe­cially with the home sup­port,” he said.

Cap­tain Ma­hesh Bhu­pathi felt it was In­dia’s mo­ment to seize.

“Ob­vi­ously we’re very dis­ap­pointed with the re­sult. I think we were in many po­si­tions to prob­a­bly take con­trol of that match and we didn’t do that. It’s def­i­nitely a dis­ap­point­ing re­sult.”

Daniel Nestor ham­mers the ball as Vasek Pospisil guards the net in Davis Cup dou­bles play against In­dia on Satur­day. The Canadian duo de­feated the In­dian dou­bles team 7-5, 7-5, 5-7, 6-3.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.