Vernon’s Vasek Pospisil won his eighth career ATP Challenger Tour title Sunday in Las Vegas. On Monday, he was named to Canada’s Davis Cup team. (Tennis Canada File)

Vernon player wins ATP tour event, named to Davis Cup squad

Vasek Pospisil joins Raonic, Shapovalov and Auger-Aliassime in representing Canada

Vernon’s Vasek Pospisil will again wear the Canadian Maple Leaf.

Tennis Canada announced on Monday that Pospisil has been selected by Canadian Davis Cup captain Frank Dancevic to represent Canda at the Davis Cup by Rakuten Finals, Nov. 18-24 in Madrid.

Joining Pospisil on the squad are Félix Auger-Aliassime of Montreal, Denis Shapovalov of Richmond Hill, Ont., and Milos Raonic of Thornhill, Ont.

“It will be difficult, seeing as all of the qualified teams for the Finals are strong,” Dancevic said to Tennis Canada. “There are no weak opponents. In our group, the United States and Italy both have excellent players in singles and doubles. If we hope to go deep in this competition, we will have to be able to count on our best players and so I am very pleased that Félix, Denis, Milos and Vasek have all answered the call.

READ MORE: Vasek Pospisil boosts Canada to Davis Cup tennis quarterfinal

“We have come close to achieving our goal in the past by reaching the semifinals; the next step will be to be crowned champions. I believe that we now have the players and the depth to accomplish this.”

The 18 countries qualified for the Finals are divided into six groups comprised of three countries. Canada is in Group F alongside the United States and Italy and will have to face the two countries in a round-robin. Canada will first cross paths with Italy on Nov. 18 and the United States on the following day. The Davis Cup Finals will be played on an indoor hard court surface.

The winners of the six groups along with the two next best countries (depending on the number of wins and the percentage of sets and games won/lost) will qualify for the quarter-finals which will take place Nov. 21. If Canada finishes first in their group, they will face the winner of Group D in the quarter-finals. The semifinals will be played on Saturday and the final on Sunday, Nov. 24. Each of these matchups will consist of two singles matches and a doubles match all played as a best of three sets.

The Canadian Davis Cup team qualified for the Finals by overcoming Slovakia by a score of 3-2 this past February.

READ MORE: Vernon’s Vasek Pospisil returns to Wimbledon

After undergoing surgery in January for a herniated disc and missing numerous months of competition, Pospisil returned to the court at Wimbledon. In early October, he qualified for the main draw and reached the second round at the Shanghai Masters, notably defeating Diego Schwartzman of Argentina. Sunday, he was crowned champion at the Las Vegas Challenger.

The 29-year-old will bring a lot of depth to the Canadian team as Pospisil has represented his country during 19 Davis Cup ties, playing in 19 singles and 15 doubles matches.

Auger-Aliassime, 19-years-old, will be playing in his third Davis Cup. Shapovalov, 20, will be taking part in his seventh Davis Cup tie and Raonic, 28, holds a record of 18 wins and only six losses in Davis Cup.

Pospisil defeated Australian James Duckworth 7-5, 6-7 (11-13), 6-3 in Sunday’s Las Vegas final, his eighth career ATP Challenger Tour win and first in nearly two years.

On Sunday, Pospisil found his way back to the winners’ circle. The 29-year-old claimed his eighth ATP Challenger Tour title and first in nearly two years, prevailing on the hard courts of Las Vegas. He defeated Aussie James Duckworth 7-5, 6-7(11), 6-3 in two hours and 26 minutes.

“He’s a great competitor and it was just a really good match,” said Pospisil on atptour.com. “It had some ups and downs and drama, which is expected in a final. I’m just happy I got through it. I wasn’t serving as well as I would have liked to. The difference was that I started to be a little more aggressive. It was a very competitive match. From my end, it was about doing well on second serve returns and applying a bit of pressure.”

Duckworth saved five match points in the second-set tiebreaker.

Duckworth did well to deny five match points in the second set tie-break, but it was Pospisil who eventually converted his sixth. He completed an impressive week that saw him not drop a set en route to the final, also defeating Michael Mmoh, Peter Polansky, Mitchell Krueger, Taro Daniel and a red-hot Christopher O’Connell.

Pospisil’s comeback is picking up steam. He is just 10 days removed from a Round of 16 appearance at the Rolex Shanghai Masters as a qualifier. There, he earned his second Top 20 win in recent weeks, upsetting Diego Schwartzman after toppling Karen Khachanov at the US Open.

“I still a have a lot of work to do,” said Pospisil. Tennis is all about ups and downs like anything else in life. For the moment I’m enjoying the wave I’m on and we’ll see where it takes me.”

The former World No. 25 will rise to No. 168 in the ATP Rankings.

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@VernonNews
roger@vernonmorningstar.com

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