Tennis-Canada down Italy to set up Davis Cup final showdown with Australia

Tennis - Copa Davis - Semi Final - Italy v Canada - Palacio de los Deportes Jose Maria Martin Carpena, Malaga, Spain - November 26, 2022 Italy's Lorenzo Sonego celebrates winning his match in the semi final against Canada's Denis Shapovalov REUTERS/Jon Nazca

(Reuters) -Canada booked a showdown with Australia in the Davis Cup final after Felix Auger-Aliassime and Vasek Pospisil edged out Italians Matteo Berrettini and Fabio Fognini 7-6(2) 7-5 in a tightly fought decisive doubles affair on Saturday.

The Canadians will be chasing their first title in the men's team competition when they take on 28-times champions Australia on Sunday in Malaga, Spain.

Down an early break in the first set, Auger-Aliassime let out a triumphant roar as he converted a break point with a forehand winner in the sixth game and never took his foot off the gas, sealing the tiebreak with an ace.

Auger-Aliassime, sixth in the singles rankings, harnessed his powerful serve to fend off three break points in the final game and celebrated with a chest bump with Pospisil, who excelled at the competition despite beginning the week without any clothes after his bags were lost en route from a Challenger Tour event.

"Davis Cup is always a wild week and I would say the most fun, as a player," Pospisil said. "We got more to do."

Auger-Aliassime was brought in as a last-minute substitution on the doubles team after compatriot Denis Shapovalov lost earlier in the day to Lorenzo Sonego 7-6(4) 6-7(5) 6-4 in a physically punishing marathon match.

"We knew coming this week that we could make some changes depending on how singles went and I just feel like the whole team connected around this idea and there was no ego in the wrong places," said Auger-Aliassime.

"Everybody just has the clear idea of the main goal, which is lifting the cup tomorrow."

Earlier in the day, Auger-Aliassime sent over a dozen aces as he handily beat Lorenzo Musetti 6-3 6-4 to keep Canada alive.

On Friday, Australia reached the final for the first time in 19 years with a 2-1 win over Croatia.

(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru and Amy Tennery in New York, editing by Pritha Sarkar and Ken Ferris)

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