OTTAWA â€” Team Canada captain Martin Laurendeau says his team is doing its best to remain focused despite a tough road ahead in its Davis Cup World Group tie against Britain.
Britain took a 2-1 lead over Canada in the best-of-five matchup on Saturday after Jamie Murray and Dom Inglot defeated Toronto’s Daniel Nestor and Vancouver’s Vasek Pospisil 7-6(1), 6-7(3), 7-6(3), 6-3.
The Canadians need a singles victory from Pospisil against Daniel Evans, ranked 45th in the world, on Sunday afternoon to stay in the tie. Denis Shapovalov of Richmond Hill, Ont., would play Kyle Edmund later Sunday if a fifth and deciding match is needed.
“We have no choice, but to try and win the next two matches,” said Laurendeau. “First off we need to win the first. We need to do all we can to ensure (Pospisil) can play as that’s a good matchup against Evans.”
Pospisil’s left knee seemed to bother him as he had some struggles with his serve in the sixth game of the fourth set on Saturday. Pospisil’s knee flared up Friday during his singles win over Edmund.
The 26-year-old said he has “plenty left in the tank,” but could be forced to withdraw if the knee continues to bother him. A decision won’t be made until Sunday morning as Pospisil wants to have some physiotherapy Saturday night and see how he responds to the treatment.
Pospisil would likely be replaced by Peter Polansky of Thornhill, Ont., if he’s unavailable to play.
Britain team captain Leon Smith admitted that having the lead definitely makes things a little easier, but said there’s still lots of tennis left to be played and knows Canada will bring its best Sunday.
“It helps getting that important win that Don and Jamie have done,” said Smith. “Good thing is it gives you two cracks at it. That’s the important thing and it gives everyone a lot of confidence.”
Neither Nestor nor Pospisil were very satisfied with their performance on Saturday and felt they let points slip away.
“I wasn’t happy with the way I returned. I didn’t think I really made any returns on key points that we had,” said Nestor, who was playing his 50th Davis Cup tie. The 44-year-old made his Davis Cup singles debut 25 years ago.
Nestor remained vague when asked if he could see himself playing many more ties.
“Honestly, I don’t know,” said Nestor. “I’m frustrated right now. We’ll see depending on future ties and where they are and how I feel. Right now I feel OK, but I just would have liked to play a little bit better, but unfortunately that wasn’t the case.”
Britain won just two of its 10 break points throughout the match while Canada was 1 of 2.
Britain went up 5-2 in the fourth set before Canada came back to win the eighth game. The British pair won the next game to take the match.
There were no breaks in the third set, leading the pairs to their third straight tie-breaker. Britain went up 6-1 before taking the tie-breaker 7-3 for a two sets to one lead.
“We won the third set tie-breaker which was huge for us and we both felt that they both kind of dropped off energy wise after that,” said Murray. “Dom played a great game to break serve in the middle of the fourth set and that was that.”
This weekend’s winner will move on to the World Group quarter-finals and play France, which defeated Japan, and will be assured a spot in the World Group the following year. The losing nation will be forced to play a World Group playoff tie to keep their spot for 2018 play.
Note: The Hawkeye electronic line-calling system was not available for due to court maintenance.
Lisa Wallace, The Canadian Press