Britain advances in Davis Cup after Canadian default
Ottawa (AFP) - Britain booked a Davis Cup quarter-final matchup against France in odd fashion Sunday after the decisive final singles match ended when Canada's Denis Shapovalov hit the umpire with a ball.
The 17-year-old Israeli-born Canadian was defaulted after hitting a ball into the face of chair umpire Arnaud Gabas, handing Britain's Kyle Edmund a 6-3, 6-4, 2-1 triumph that gave Britain a 3-2 victory in the first-round tie at Ottawa.
"It was a strange way to finish," Edmund said. "I've never been part of something like that."
Britain advanced to a quarter-final matchup April 7-9 against France with that winner facing either Spain or Serbia in a September semi-final.
Vasek Pospisil had blasted 25 aces in a 7-6 (7/3), 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (7/5) victory over Dan Evans after three hours and 23 minutes earlier to draw Canada level at 2-2, setting the stage for the final drama.
"No one is nicer or carries themselves better for a 17 y/o than Shapovalov," Pospisil tweeted. "Everyone can see that today was an accident. Can happen to anyone."
Gabas suffered bruising and swelling around his left eye and was taken to a nearby hospital.
Shapovalov apologized to Gabas in the referee's office while he was being treated.
Edmund lost to Pospisil in three sets in Friday's singles while Shapovalov fell to Evans in Friday's opening match of the tie.
"Obviously a bit of a surprise what happened at the end there," British Davis Cup captain Leon Smith said. "It's a shame that it has happened that way and I feel for the young lad because he's a great talent and he has learned a harsh lesson today.
"I thought Kyle, from what we saw Friday to the way he came out today, he was absolutely fantastic."
World number one Andy Murray was absent for Britain but injured fourth-ranked Canadian Milos Raonic was also missing.
In the first reverse singles, Pospisil smacked a forehand winner to grab a 6-4 edge in the final tie-breaker. Evans answered with his seventh ace but Pospisil took the final point to keep Canada's hopes alive.
It was a busy weekend for Pospisil, who teamed with Daniel Nestor in a Saturday doubles loss to Britain's Dominic Inglot and Jamie Murray after having beaten Edmund.