With the help of 41-year-old Daniel Nestor (Profile) and world no. 41 Vasek Pospisil (Profile), Canada took a vital 2-1 lead over Serbia heading into the third day of the Davis Cup semifinals, beating Ilija Bozoljac (Profile) and Nenad Zimonjic (Profile) in an epic match.
It was a thrilling five-set encounter between four talented competitors that lasted 4 hours and 22 minutes with exactly 370 points played.
“When all four players are playing well it’s always going to come down to a few points and we were fortunate to serve it out after carving out a break in the penultimate game of the match,” Pospisil said as a news conference after the match.
Serbia looked to take an early lead in the proceedings as the duo raced to a 3-1 lead. The Canadians forced their way back into the set and into a tiebreak, which they eventually lost in disappointing fashion with a pair of unforced errors. Nestor appeared to find his rhythm in the second set and improved his shot-making to power through the aggressive Serbs to force a break point. It was a decisive point as the Canadians clutched the second set 6-4 to even the score.
Zimonjic broke Nestor’s serve in the third set with a spectacular backhand shot down the middle, and held serve to give Serbia a 5-2 lead in the set. The Canadian attempted to hang to the set yet it was too little too late as they dropped the third set 3-6 to give the Serbian team a 2-1 lead heading into the fourth set.
The disappointment of losing the set did not seem to faze the Canadian duo as they were determined to even the score once again. After a breathtaking set with many dangerous moments for both teams, the Canadian contingent secured yet another tiebreak, this time with vastly different results, as the endured crushing ground strokes to edge out the set and reach a decisive fifth.
While the fourth set was full of wondrous gameplay and endurance, the fifth set was an extraordinary display of courage and determination. With no tiebreak to decide between them, the two team continued to persevere towards victory.
With the aid of a few key points in their favour, Nestor and Pospisil finally secured a break and served out the match at 10-8 in the fifth set. It was a heart-warming moment for a nation that had never advance past the second round in Open Era history.
“It was a high quality match. We hung in there, stayed with it and won in a tough environment.” Nestor said after the match. “Our celebrations were very emotional because we are having a great year.” “The support from the Canadian fans was amazing and we really appreciate how they sacrificed their time to come here, we’ve never had support like this away from home before.
Nestor and Pospisil also played a dramatic Davis Cup quarterfinal this year, where they recorded a sensational 6-3, 6-4, 3-6, 3-6, 15-13 win over Italy, which allowed Raonic to clinch the deciding rubber.
Tomorrow’s proceedings begin with world no. 1 Novak Djokovic against no. 11 Milos Raonic. The winner of the semi-finals will draw defending champions Czech Republic finals on November 15-17. Prior to 2013, the team had never advanced past the second round of the prestigious tournament in the Open Era.