MADRID — Vasek Pospisil has recorded his second major upset in as many days, giving Canada a 1-0 lead in its best-of-three tie against the United States at the inaugural Davis Cup Finals.
Pospisil, ranked 150th in the world, beat world No. 36 Reilly Opelka 7-6 (5), 7-6 (7) on Tuesday.
The 29-year-old Pospisil, from Vancouver, beat world No. 12 Fabio Fognini on Monday en route to Canada’s 2-1 win over Italy. Pospisil was a late replacement for Felix Auger-Aliassime (ankle injury) against Italy.
Winning the tie over the Americans would guarantee Canada a spot in the quarterfinals.
The six-foot-11 Opelka, known for his big serve, fought off one match point in the second set to tie it at 6-6. But Pospisil rebounded to finish it off.
Pospisil, who reached a career-high No. 25 in the rankings in 2014, tumbled down the list after missing the first half of 2019 following back surgery.
But he has shown signs of progress in recent months, upsetting then-No. 9 Karen Khachanov at the U.S. Open before advancing to the round of 16 at the Shanghai Masters.
Playing a level down in Challengers earlier this fall, Pospisil captured two tournament titles in the U.S.
Pospisil is now 19-18 in Davis Cup play.
Canada’s Denis Shapovalov, who clinched the tie over Italy with an upset of Matteo Berrettini, meets American Taylor Fritz in the second singles match.
Shapovalov, from Richmond Hill, Ont., and Pospisil then are scheduled to face Sam Querrey and Jack Sock in doubles. Shapovalov and Pospisil lost a three-set doubles match to Italy yesterday.
The winners of each of the six groups and the next two best teams advance to the quarterfinals.