Davis Cup 2023: Finland beats defending champion Canada to reach semifinals

Canada's reign as Davis Cup champions was ended by outsiders Finland which produced a big shock on the opening day of the Final Eight.

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Payal Debnath
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Davis Cup 2023: Finland beats defending champion Canada to reach semifinals

Finland entered the semi-finals of the Davis Cup for the first time. Image- Sportstar - The Hindu

Finland entered the semi-finals of the Davis Cup 2023 tennis tournament for the first time by defeating defending champion and world number one team Canada in Malaga on Tuesday.

Also Read: 2023 Davis Cup Finals Group Stage

Virtanen kept Finland's hopes alive by defeating Gabriel Diallo. Image- ESPN India
Virtanen kept Finland's hopes alive by defeating Gabriel Diallo. Image- ESPN India

Otto Virtanen and Harri Heliovaara won the decisive doubles match in the first quarter-final of the competition being played in the southern Spanish city. 14th-ranked Finland defeated Vasek Pospisil and Alexis Galarneau 7-5, 6-3.

Both Canada and Finland were without their top-ranked players, as Felix Auger-Aliassime for Canada and Emil Ruusuvuori for Finland were sidelined with injuries. But, Virtanen kept Finland's hopes alive by defeating Gabriel Diallo 6-4, 7-5 in the second singles match of Davis Cup 2023. Earlier, Milos Raonic had given Canada an early lead with a 6-3, 7-5 win over Finn Patrick Kaukovalta.

Finland will play the winner of Wednesday's quarter-final between 2022 runners-up Australia and the Czech Republic in Friday's Davis Cup 2023 semi-final.

In other Davis Cup 2023 quarter-final matches, Australia will face Czech Republic, Italy will face Netherlands and Great Britain will face Serbia. The winning team of the match between Australia and Czech Republic will face Finland in the semi-finals. The semi-finals will be played on Friday and Saturday while the final will be held on Sunday.

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Changes to the format of the historic competition in recent years following a now-defunct alliance with Spanish investment company Kosmos have not been everyone's cup of tea, with the traditional 'home and away' ties largely replaced. But ITF president David Haggerty said the new format, featuring qualifiers spread across four cities in September to determine the Final Eight in Malaga, is the best formula.

Tuesday's near sell-out crowd certainly provided the sort of atmosphere that was sadly lacking in some ties in September and the Finnish fans, many of whom are resident in Spain, will be out in force again on Friday.

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