Finland upset defending champion Canada to reach the semifinals of the Davis Cup for the first time on Tuesday.
Otto Virtanen and Harri Heliovaara defeated Alexis Galarneau and Vasek Pospisil 7-5, 6-3 in the decisive doubles match to give the 14th-ranked Finns the triumph over No. 1 Canada in the first of the quarterfinals in southern Spain.
Virtanen had kept Finland alive by defeating Gabriel Diallo 6-4, 7-5 in the second singles match after Milos Raonic had given Canada the first point with a 6-3, 7-5 victory over Patrick Kaukovalta.
Finland’s best performances before this year were three appearances in the World Cup playoffs – the last in 2002. Canada collected its first Davis Cup title last year, defeating Australia in the final in Malaga.
The No. 1 player for both countries – Canada’s Felix Auger-Aliassime and Finland’s Emil Ruusuvuori – were out injured.
Raonic, the former No. 3 in the world, started with four aces and never permitted Kaukovalta to get into the opening match. The 32-year-old Raonic, who hadn’t played for Canada in five years, lost just one point on serve in the opening set and three in the entire match.
Finland evened the tie when the 22-year-old Virtanen broke serve once in each set versus Diallo.
In the doubles, Finland broke serve to go up 5-3 in the second set and then closed out the match and tie.
Australia will play the Czech Republic in another quarterfinal on Wednesday, while on Thursday it will be Italy against the Netherlands and Great Britain against Novak Djokovic’s Serbia.
The semifinals will be played both on Friday and Saturday, with the winner being crowned on Sunday.