(Photo credit: Cara Owsley/The Enquirer / USA TODAY NETWORK)
After Otto Virtanen edged Mackenzie McDonald in a three-set thriller, Emil Ruusuvuori swept Tommy Paul and Finland eliminated the United States from the Davis Cup with a 3-0 win during group play Saturday in Split, Croatia.
The victory moved the Fins to 2-1 and the top of the Group D standings. The U.S. fell to 1-2 and, with the Netherlands sitting at 2-0 with one match to play, can finish no better than third in the group. Only the top two teams from each group advance to the Final 8.
Also on Saturday, Australia beat Switzerland 3-0 in Manchester, England; Canada edged Chile 2-1 in Bologna, Italy; and the Czech Republic swept Serbia 3-0 in Valencia, Spain. Canada (Group A), Australia (Group B) and the Czech Republic (Group C) all advanced to the Final 8 -- the final knockout rounds taking place in Malaga, Spain, in late November.
With the victory already in hand, Finland completed the sweep of the Americans when Harri Heliovaara and Patrick Kaukovalta beat Rajeev Ram and Austin Krajicek 6-7 (6), 7-6 (5), 10-8.
In Manchester, Alex de Minaur topped Marc-Andrea Huesler 6-4, 6-3; Thanasi Kokkinakis beat Dominic Stricker 6-3, 7-5; and Matthew Ebden teamed with Max Purcell to beat Huesler and Stricker 6-2, 6-4 to win the doubles point. Australia is 2-1 with Great Britain (2-0) to face France (1-1) in the final Group B match on Sunday.
Canada, the defending champion, wrapped up Group A with its win over Chile. Alexis Galarneau beat Alejandro Tabilo 6-3, 7-6 (5) to give Canada one point, but Nicolas Jarry topped Gabriel Diallo 6-4, 6-4 to even the match. Galarneau teamed with Vasek Pospisil to beat Tabilo and Tomas Barrios Vera 6-3, 7-6 (7) to give Canada the match and complete a 3-0 run in group play. Chile is 1-2 in the group.
With Serbia having clinched a spot in the Final 8 on Friday, star Novak Djokovic on Saturday was given the day off in singles play. The Czech Republic took advantage with Jakub Mensik and Jiri Lehecka getting sweeps -- Mensik beating Dusan Lajovic 6-3, 6-2 and Lehecka topping Laslo Djere 7-6 (7), 7-5. Djokovic did play doubles, teaming with Nikola Cacic. But Adam Pavlasek and Tomas Machac won the final point 5-7, 7-6 (7), 3-10.
Group stage action finishes Sunday with four matchups:
--Italy vs. Sweden (Group A)
--Great Britain vs. France (Group B)
--Spain vs. South Korea (Group C)
--Croatia vs. Netherlands (Group D)
Group stage standings (overall record, individual match record):
1. Canada, 3-0, 8-1
2. Italy, 1-1, 3-3
3. Chile, 1-2, 4-5
4. Sweden, 0-2, 0-6
1. Australia, 2-1, 6-3
1. Great Britain, 2-0, 4-2
3. France, 1-1, 4-2
4. Switzerland, 0-3, 1-8
1. Czech Republic, 3-0, 9-0
2. Serbia, 2-1, 6-3
T3. Spain, 0-2, 0-6
T3. South Korea, 0-2, 0-6
1. Finland, 2-1, 6-3
2. Netherlands, 2-0, 4-2
3. United States, 1-2, 3-6
4. Croatia, 0-2, 2-4
--Field Level Media