In his current B.C. hometown, with his parents and brothers cheering loudly, Vernon’s Vasek Pospisil lifted Canada into the Davis Cup quarterfinals.
Pospisil earned the clinching point in the fifth and deciding game with Japan Sunday at the Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre on the campus of the University of B.C. in Vancouver.
Pospisil scored a straight sets triumph over Go Soeda, 7-6, 6-3, 6-4 in the clincher before a boisterous crowd that included his parents, Milos and Mila, as well as his brothers Petr and Tom who wre banging drums in the boisterous band of Canadian team supporters known as ‘Vashy’s Army.’
A deciding match was required after world No. 4 Kei Nishikori defeated world No. 6 Milos Raonic (Thornhill, Ont.) 3-6, 6-3, 6-4, 2-6, 6-4 in the fourth rubber of the tie.
“It feels great, it’s the best feeling in the world right now,” Pospisil said to Tennis Canada after the match.
“It’s pretty amazing, especially being here at home in Vancouver. There have been so many ties where I was scheduled to play the fifth match but Milos always closed it out so I was always on edge. And obviously you want to finish it earlier but it was really special to win that in front of the home crowd.”
Pospisil and Soeda – with world rankings of No. 62 and No. 86 respectively – battled closely until the end of the first set when the 24-year-old Canadian broke to take the lead. From that point on, Pospisil was the superior player.
Competing in his third match of the weekend, he didn’t face a single break point, hitting 15 aces and winning 93 per cent of his first serve points. He secured Canada’s victory in just short of 90 minutes.
Canada led Japan 2-1 heading into the final day of action. The opening day of play saw Raonic capture a dominating 6-2, 6-1, 6-2 win over Japanese No. 2 Tatsuma Ito and Pospisil fall to Nishikori 6-4, 7-6(5), 6-3, while day two featured a thrilling five-set 7-5, 2-6, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 triumph by Daniel Nestor (Toronto) and Pospisil over Soeda and Yasutaka Uchiyama.
The fourth member of team Canada is 21-time Davis Cup participant Frank Dancevic (Niagara Falls, Ont.).
Canada scored its first win over Japan in six previous tries, including last year’s 4-1 first-round loss in Tokyo. Prior to 2014, the two teams had not played since 1938.
Canada’s triumph over Japan also marks the country’s third-ever World Group victory. .
With the victory, Canada has officially kept its place in the World Group for 2016, which will mark the nation’s fifth straight year in the elite 16-team category. Canada’s Davis Cup journey this year will continue with a quarter-final tie against Belgium, who picked up a 3-2 victory over Switzerland on Sunday thanks to No. 1 player David Goffin’s win in the fifth and deciding rubber.
Canada will travel to Belgium from July 17-19 to play for a place in the semifinals.