Canada engineered a huge 3-0 sweep of Italy during Group A competition at the Davis Cup Finals in Bologna on Wednesday.
The visiting Canadians were underdogs in both singles matches, and not just because Italy had home-court advantage. Alexis Galarneau opened with a 7-6(8), 6-4 victory over Lorenzo Sonego before Gabriel Diallo upset Lorenzo Musetti 7-5, 6-4. Although the tie had already been secured, doubles can be important in eventual tie-breaking scenarios and Galarneau teamed up with Vasek Pospisil to beat Simone Bolelli and Matteo Arnaldi in a third-set tiebreaker.
“It’s funny, because [Alexis and I] both played college tennis, and here obviously it’s like really noisy, but in college it’s much more rowdy,” Diallo said of the atmosphere in Bologna. “There’s like 500 or 1,000 people but they’re all in your face, they talk to you, they look up where you’re from, your background, and start telling you about your family. I think it’s tougher to deal with that than here.
“Of course they’re supporting the Italians, but they’re quite respectful. They were cheering good shots that Alexis and I were hitting. And at the end of both matches they looked like they were happy to see two high-level (singles) matches.”
The United States also picked up a road win, battling past Croatia 2-1 in Group D. Mackenzie McDonald got the visitors off a strong start by beating Dino Prizmic, but the singles rubbers were split when Frances Tiafoe fell to Borna Gojo. That set the stage for doubles to decide it, and the Austin Krajicek-Rajeem Ram pairing defeated Ivan Dodig (Krajicek’s partner on tour) and Mate Pavic 7-6(5), 6-7(3), 6-2.
“It was a fun day,” captain Bob Bryan commented. “I thought it was a high-quality match by all the players. Mackie, last-minute substitution, did an incredible job of getting us started. Some of his shots were like lasers. Gojo kind of took the racquet out of Frances’ hand in a lot of moments, which never allowed him to get rhythm.
“And then the doubles, all four guys are Grand Slam champions. They played like tonight.”