Canada Shocks Italy In Group Stage Opener At The Davis Cup Finals

Team Canada (photo: Brigitte Urban)

BOLOGNA, September 14, 2023 (Tennis Canada Press Release)

On Wednesday, Team Canada presented by Sobeys opened the Group Stage of the Davis Cup Finals with a 3-0 win over Italy. Playing out of the Unipol Arena in Bologna, Italy, the Canadian squad, made up of Denis Shapovalov, Gabriel Diallo, Vasek Pospisil, Alexis Galarneau, and Kelsey Stevenson, currently sits tied atop of the Group A leaderboard with Chile.

Galarneau (No. 200) got things rolling early for Team Canada, defeating World No. 38 Lorenzo Sonego in a thrilling two-hour and 22-minute match by a score of 7-6(8), 6-4. Despite being down love-40 in the opening game, Galarneau fought his way back to avoid going into an early 0-1 hole. That was a common theme for the 24-year-old throughout the contest, as he was able to turn up his game in clutch moments, fending away two set points in the opening set and saving four of five break point opportunities. It was Galarneau’s first victory in Davis Cup action.

His compatriot Diallo also entered today looking for his first Davis Cup win. He faced off against Team Italy’s top-ranked player, Lorenzo Musetti (No. 18). Diallo, who is ranked No. 158 in the world, recently won his first ATP Tour-level match on home soil at the National Bank Open presented by Rogers in Toronto, Canada. He used that match to fuel him today, as he took down Musetti in straight sets – 7-5, 6- 4. The 21-year-old Montrealer hit 10 aces and didn’t face a single break point.

“It was top two, and not two,” said Diallo when asked where this win ranked among the rest in his career. “I got a good win in the summer at the National Bank Open – my home tournament. I mean the fact that I was able to do it here, away, against a player like [Musetti], in a tough environment. I played some inspired tennis, I went after my shots, I played my game, and I think it could set the tone for the rest of the week.”

For the doubles match, team captain Frank Dancevic elected to go with Pospisil and Galarneau. The Canadian pair lost their only previous Davis Cup match together at the 2022 Group Stage in Valencia, Spain. They redeemed themselves today, beating the Italian duo of Matteo Arnaldi and Simone Bolelli in three back-and-forth sets. Galarneau earned his first and second Davis Cup wins on the same day, while Pospisil cinched the 28th win of his Davis Cup career.

“These two guys together [Pospisil and Galarneau], they played their hearts out – unbelievable match,” said Dancevic following the doubles contest. “Just a great team effort overall to get through today against Italy. They are such a tough team, especially in front of their home crowd.”