Team Canada presented by Sobeys suffered an early defeat on day one of the Davis Cup Finals at the hands of Sweden, failing to win a set in a 3-0 defeat.
Steven Diez and Vasek Pospisil were bested in the singles matches by the Ymer brothers, Elias and Mikael, before Pospisil and Brayden Schnur were beaten in the doubles by Andre Goransson and Robert Lindstedt.
The defeat puts the 2019 finalists’ hopes of another deep run in serious jeopardy, as only the top team in the group in guaranteed a spot in the quarter-finals. Not winning a set, let alone a rubber, will make it challenging for Canada to advance as one of the top second-place teams.
First up on Thursday was Diez, who raced out to a 4-1 lead in his match with Elias Ymer, only to lose the next seven games and 10 of the next 12 to fall in straight sets.
Diez only won 49 percent of his service points in that match.
Pospisil came out of the second match looking to play the hero, as he often did during Canada’s 2019 run to the Davis Cup final, but got off to a rough start, needing eleven minutes to hold serve in the opening game. He was then broken his next time up to go down an early break.
That was enough for Mikael Ymer, who did not face a break point on his way to taking the first set.
The Canadian looked to be on track when he reached break point for the first time in the match at 3-2 in the second set, but he missed his return. It proved to be a costly miss as Ymer broke serve in the following game to take the lead.
Once again, the young Swede did not give Pospisil a chance to get back into the set, only dropping two more points on his own serve as he hung on to take the set, the match, and the tie for Sweden.
Pospisil hit more than twice as many unforced errors as winners, 30 to 13. Ymer also won every break point in the match, converting both his opportunities on his opponent’s serve while saving the only one he faced.
Pospisil still had a chance to salvage a point for Canada when he and Brayden Schnur came out for the doubles rubber.
After a hectic start that saw four breaks of serve in the first five games, Sweden put Canada on the ropes by taking the opening set in a tiebreak 7-5.
With their backs up against the wall, the Canadian pair were doing all they could to stay in the match but failed to create any opportunities on the Swedes’ serve.
That came back to bite them when the Swedes managed to break to take a 5-4 lead. The Canadians did not go away quietly, saving two match points and holding a break point in the following game, but the Swedes were eventually able to serve out the match and complete the sweep.
Canada plays Kazakhstan on Sunday and will likely need a sweep to have a chance of advancing to the quarter-finals.