The Netherlands made a near clean sweep against the visiting Canadian team I the Davis Cup World Cup Qualifying tie at Sportcampus Zuidepark in the Hague on Saturday. The Netherlands won 4-0 as the last game of the tie was not played.
With this win on the home turf, the Dutch earned a spot in the Davis Cup Finals next fall, while Canada will play a World Group I playoff in September. In New Delhi, India beat Denmark 4-0 in a World Group I match.
Defending champion Russia stands disqualified because of its military invasion of Ukraine. The International Tennis Federation is yet to announce a replacement for Russia in the World finals to be played in November.
The impact of the Russian invasion of Ukraine was also witnessed elsewhere as Mexico got a walkover from Belarus in a World Group I match. Interestingly, Ukraine defeated Barbados 3-0.
The group stage of the 2022 Davis Cup by Rakuten finals will take place across four cities between September 14 and 18. The knock-out stage of the 2022 Davis Cup finals will take place from November 23 to 27 at one venue.
The Finals will feature 16 teams. The 12 winners in the Davis Cup by Rakuten Qualifiers played on March 4 and 5 will join Croatia (2021 runner up) and the two wild cards, Great Britain and Serbia.
Russian Tennis Federation had qualified automatically for the 2022 Finals (as 2021 champions), but following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the RTF has been suspended from all international team competition until further notice. Their replacement will be announced in due course.
The 16 teams will compete in four round-robin groups of four teams. The top two teams in each group will advance to the quarter-finals.
On the second day of the qualifier match between Canada and the Netherlands, Brayden Schnur (Pickering) and Peter Polansky (Toronto) fell 7-5, 6-2 to the duo of Wesley Koolhof (no. 18 in doubles) and Matwe Middelkoop (no. 28 in doubles). After a tight first set, the Dutch team put a lot of pressure on the Canadians, creating nine break point opportunities and converting two of them.
“I thought we played actually really well today. [It] probably was one of our best doubles matches together,” said Schnur after the game. “Unfortunately, I just think it was a little bit too late until we started connecting on our returns. But these guys played well today, they served really well. It was a great atmosphere here in the Netherlands, they had really good support and they used the crowd to their advantage.”
Although the outcome of the tie was decided, a third singles match was played between Steven Diez (Toronto) and Robin Haase (no. 255 in the world) of the Netherlands. Diez had held his own on Friday against Tallon Griekspoor (no. 54 in the world), but this time he was no match for Haase, losing in straight sets 6-1, 6-2 after 48 minutes of play.
“We knew [from the beginning] it was going to be pretty tough without our top guys,” said Diez. “However, the experience here was great. I think the team we have is always really close. Hopefully, we’ll see what happens at the next tie but we’ll be back for sure.”
Team Canada’s captain, Frank Dancevic, also echoed Diez’s comments: “We knew it would be a difficult task coming into this weekend against the Netherlands. We had a few moments where the momentum could have turned our way but unfortunately, it wasn’t meant to be. The Dutch played very well and deserved the victory. Thank you to all our Canadian fans for all the support!! We will regroup and come back stronger for the next tie in September.”
This result means that Canada will not participate in the Davis Cup Finals for the first time since the new format was adopted in 2019, when the Canadians reached the final of the event. The Canadians still have hopes of qualifying again in 2023, but will have to play a World Group I playoff in September.
Meanwhile, in other World Group I matches, India beat Denmark, Pakistan beat Lithuania 3-2, Chile b Slovenia 4-0, Turkey b Uzbekistan 3-2, Portugal b Poland 4-0 Israel b South Africa 3-1, New Zealand by Uruguay 3-1, Ukraine b Barbados 3-0, and Switzerland b Lebanon 3-1.