Defending champion Canada secured a spot in the Davis Cup round of 16 with Alexis Galarneau’s straight-sets victory over Chile’s Alejandro Tabilo on Saturday in Bologna, Italy.
After sweeping hosts Italy and Sweden to open the 16-nation group finals, Canada needed to win one of three games against Chile on Saturday to advance to November’s round of 16 in Malaga, Spain.
With a world singles ranking of 200, Galarneau, 24, from Laval, Que., got the job done early in Canada’s first singles match on the hard court at Unipol Arena.
Their 6-3, 7-6(5) victory over Tabilo ensured Canada will advance in what has been dubbed the World Cup of men’s team tennis.
“It got complicated. I know Alejandro from juniors,” Galarneau said. “He grew up in Canada, so he knew what to expect. I know he’s a great fighter.
“I was able to use some of the energy of the crowd and my teammates to provide good service.”
SEE | Galarneau makes quick work of the Chilean Alejandro Tabilo:
Canada defeated Australia in 2022 to win the Davis Cup for the first time.
The two countries were cleared for this year’s group stage final, in which the top two countries from each group of four advance to Malaga.
The Canadian trio went 6-0 earlier in the week
Without Montreal’s Felix Auger-Aliassime, ranked No. 14 in the world in men’s singles, and with Denis Shapovalov of Richmond Hill, Ont., on the bench in Bologna after a knee injury forced him to leave the U.S. Open, Canada’s fortunes fell to a seasoned veteran and a couple of relatively youngsters.
Vasek Pospisil of Vernon, BC, Gabriel Diallo of Montreal and Galarneau went a combined 6-0 in singles and doubles matches against Italy and Sweden on Wednesday and Thursday respectively.
The team spirit is impressive. We’re fitting in pretty well and, knock on wood, we’re keeping that streak going.— Canadian player Alexis Galarneau
Pospisil, 33, who took more than two months off from tennis in the spring to nurse his injuries, won his singles match against Swede Leo Borg and teamed with Galarneau for a pair of doubles victories over the Swedes and Italians. .
Diallo, 21, did not face a break point in his first two singles victories in Bologna, which were the first of his Davis Cup career.
Diallo fell 6-4, 6-4 to world No. 22 Nicolas Jarry in Saturday’s second singles match.
But by then, Galarneau had extended Canada’s unbeaten streak in Bologna to seven.
“We’re definitely doing something right,” Galarneau said. “The team spirit is incredible. We’re clicking pretty well and, knock on wood, we’re keeping that momentum going.”
“It’s another chance to win the title, but it also shows that last year was not a fluke, but we should be taken seriously. We are number one in the world and we wanted to back ourselves and that’s what we’re doing right now.”
SEE | Complete coverage of the Galarneau/Tabilo match from Bologna, Italy: