ALL 12 Davis Cup Finalists have been confirmed for November’s massive event, with the remaining qualifying matches completed. On Monday, seven of the 12 teams had been locked in, with the remaining five teams now secured following their respective victories. Those five nations are Croatia, Chile, Netherlands, Finland and Czech Republic, who due to timezone differences, completed their ties later than the other seven ties.
The biggest upset went to Finland, with the 28th ranked nation becoming the second lowest ranked qualifier to reach the Davis Cup Finals. Playing in front of a home crowd against an understrength Argentina, Finland made history by making the Davis Cup Finals for the first time. Top ranked singles player Emil Ruusuvuori lifted his nation up by his own shoulders, winning both his singles matches – against Pedro Cachin and Facundo Bagnis – then stepping up to triumph in the doubles alongside world number 10, Harri Heliovaara.
“It’s an incredible feeling, to play this kind of tennis with this team in front of the home crowd,” Ruusuvuori said post-tie. “It was something very special, something that none of us will ever forget, It’s one of the top moments of my career.”
Speaking of home court advantage, Chile certainly made the most of it on the clay in South America, upstaging a dangerous Kazakhstan outfit. After going 1-0 down in the singles after Cristian Garin lost to Timofey Skatov, the home team bounced back with a massive result of Nicolas Jarry defeating Alexander Bublik comprehensively, before winning the doubles to go 2-1 up. Garin sealed the deal by finding his form at the right time and knocking off Bublik 6-4 3-6 6-3 to secure his nation’s spot in the Finals.
“After my defeat yesterday, the captain lifted me up together with the team, with positive attitude, with good motivation,” Garin said after his tie-clinching win. “And that helped me come out today the way I did, improving my level. “The doubles, the way they played today, gave me extra motivation as well.”
While those two results were upsets, the remaining three matches went to script with world number ones Croatia overcoming Austria 3-1. The results were largely due to a big day one, with Borna Gojo‘s huge upset of star Austrian Dominic Thiem backing up Croatian number one Borna Coric‘s victory over Dennis Novak to ensure the clear top seeds made it back into the Davis Cup Finals.
Netherlands cruised to a 4-0 win over Slovenia even without top ranked player Botic Van de Zandschulp. Boasting an underrated lineup including in-form Tallon Griekspoor, and the dangerous Tim van Rijthoven, the Dutch overcame two tight matches on day one, to close it out in the doubles match. Doubles specialist Matwe Middelkoop had a big day two, winning alongside Wesley Koolhof in the doubles, before defeating Jozef Kovalik in the singles in straight sets.
In the final tie of the Qualifiers, Czech Republic took care of Portugal on the road thanks to back-to-back wins for Jiri Lehecka. He and Tomas Machac won their singles over Nuno Borges and Joao Sousa, and while Portugal claimed the doubles match, Lehecka sealed the deal with a 6-4 6-1 comprehensive win over Sousa on day two.
The results – including last year’s Davis Cup Finals – saw reigning champions Croatia gain the new world number one spot, ahead of Spain, Australia and Croatia. Germany currently sits in fifth, but will likely freefall given it has been knocked out of the 2023 Finals.
DAVIS CUP FINALISTS:
- United States
- Great Britain
- Czech Republic
- Republic of Korea