Australia wanted no more surprises from Finland: Hewitt’s team to play in another Davis Cup final
MÁLAGA – Finland’s Cinderella story that went where it didn’t expect to go in Davis Cup. The Nordic team defeated Argentina in the qualifiers, knocked out Croatia and the United States in September and eliminated Canada in the quarter-finals. They were in the semis with nothing to lose and in front of a raucous home crowd that warmed the ‘ice team’ like never before.
Until, for the first time in history, they found themselves in a series with Australia and their strong Davis tradition.
The Australian team, runners-up last year, struck the first blow with Alexei Popyrin, adopted son of the city of Marbella. The Australian is based less than an hour’s drive from Malaga during his breaks between tournaments. He had been the star against the Czech Republic, and against Finland’s Otto Virtanen he did not disappoint.
In two sets, the replacement for Thanasi Kokkinakis beat the Finn 7-6, 6-2 to put the Australian team ahead.
De Miñaur’s turn
Alex De Miñaur, who has Spanish and Uruguayan roots, shouldered the responsibility of closing out the tie and freeing his team to contest the deciding doubles point. After a shaky start, the Australian bounced back and racked up five games to give himself a chance to close out the first set 6-4 against the number 69 of the ATP ranking, Emil Ruusuvuori.
Alex De Miñaur gave Australia the victory // Noventa Estudio.
The second set started with an early break that would be enough for De Miñaur and his Australian team to reach the 201st victory in their Davis Cup history (they reached the bicentenary milestone against Czech Republic).
On the other side, the Serbian world number one Novak Djokovic or the always feared Italian squad led by Italian Jannik Sinner await them. Will there be a vendetta?