Harri Heliovaara and Otto Virtanen defeated Alexis Galarneau and Vasek Pospisil in the final doubles showdown 7-5, 6-3.
Earlier in the day, Milos Raonic took over from Félix Auger-Aliassime, who suffered a lower-body injury, and won 6-3, 7-5 against Patrick Kaukovalta.
Virtanen then secured a 1-1 deadlock by defeating Montrealer Gabriel Diallo 6-4, 7-5.
“The Finnish team played very well,” said Canada captain Frank Dancevic. Sometimes when you have injured players on one side and then healthy, confident players on the other, they will be hungry even if they have never been in this situation before.”
In the last game, the Canadians were more unpredictable when serving than their rivals, committing six double faults and allowing 14 break points. The Finns broke the Canadians’ serve three times and only suffered one break.
Pospisil received treatment on his right shoulder and neck late in the first inning. He then fell victim to a break of serve while Finland converted their second set point.
“I was really hurt,” Pospisil said. I didn’t enjoy playing in pain.”
“I would have preferred not to play if we could have counted on someone else healthy and ready to play, but I was healthy enough,” he added.
The Finns broke Pospisil’s serve again and took a 5-3 lead in the second set, but then tied it with serve.
Finland will take part in the Davis Cup semi-finals for the first time. On Friday she will face the Czech Republic or Australia. The final takes place on Sunday.
Canada caused a shockwave last year when it won the prestigious team competition, knocking out Germany, Italy and Australia in succession in the final in Malaga.
This time Canada capitulated in the first phase of the finals.
Auger-Aliassime confirmed Canada’s triumph against Australia in the final of the competition last year. This time he was forced to sit on the bench, depriving Canada of its only member of the world’s top 100 in singles present in Malaga. Auger-Aliassime is ranked 29th in the ATP rankings.
Raonic, of Thornhill, Ont., took over by appearing in a Davis Cup singles match for the first time since 2018. It only took him an hour and seven minutes to defeat Kaukovalta.
Raonic, the 318th player in the world, was much more incisive when serving than Kaukovalta: He dominated the aces category with 18:11 and won 97 percent of the points with his first serve. The powerful batsman also converted two of his five break points against the 715th ranked player in the world, who didn’t get a single break chance during the game. The Maple Leaf representative also managed a total of 16 winning throws, while the Finn only managed five.
“You appreciate these moments a lot more when you know there won’t be many more to come,” said Raonic, who is 32 and played in the Davis Cup for the first time in 2010.
Diallo, 139th in the world, could have secured Canada victory in the second game of the best-of-three clash against Virtanen, 171st. However, the Finn proved more effective when serving, as evidenced by his 14 aces, compared to just two for Diallo.
The 22-year-old Quebecer also couldn’t convert his only break point against Virtanen. The latter was a bit more opportunistic, with two breaks on five occasions during the match, which lasted an hour and 33 minutes on the concrete of the Martin Carpena Arena.
“Either you win or you learn,” Diallo said. Today I learned.”
Canada was also without Denis Shapovalov of Ontario this week, who won the opening game of the final last year. The Richmond Hill native is still recovering from a knee injury.
Award-winning entrepreneur. Baconaholic. Food advocate. Wannabe beer maven. Twitter ninja.