Gasquet and Tsonga defeat Bester and Pospisil to clinch tie for France
Guadeloupe, March 5, 2016 – The Canadian Davis Cup team was defeated 3-0 in their Davis Cup by BNP Paribas World Group first round tie on Saturday after dropping the doubles rubber to France at the Vélodrome Amédée Detraux in Guadeloupe. Richard Gasquet and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga clinched the tie for France by defeating the Canadian duo of Vasek Pospisil (Vancouver) and Philip Bester (Vancouver) 7-6(4), 6-1, 7-6(4).
After Pospisil and Frank Dancevic dropped the opening singles matches on Friday, the doubles point was a must-win for Canada. The match opened with the teams swapping service breaks before both pairs settled into a groove. Bester, playing in his first Davis Cup match since 2011, was particularly excellent, executing returns with power and volleying extremely solid at the net. At 5-4 in the first set, the French team saved four set points which turned out to be the chance Canada needed to take advantage of, as the set ended up in a tiebreak that was captured by Gasquet and Tsonga.
The French then jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the second after breaking Bester’s service game at love and then saving two break points in the following game to consolidate it. It was tough to recover from there for the Canadians, who won just 13 points in the entire second set.
Pospisil and Bester seemed to regroup for the third but again, missed opportunities were the difference as they failed to convert four more break points at 3-2 bringing the total in the match to 1 for 11 on break chances. The third set went to another tiebreak, and again it went the way of the French with some excellent returning from Gasquet to give France the win.
With the victory, France now moves on to the quarter-finals to face either Germany or the Czech Republic in July. Canada will now have to play a World Group play-off tie in September to try and keep their spot in the upper echelon of the competition. Canada’s opponent and the choice of ground for that tie will be determined in July after the final round of zonal ties are played.
Davis Cup by BNP Paribas is the largest annual international team competition in sport. A total of 135 nations are participating in 2016 and only the top 16 countries each year qualify for the World Group and play for the prestigious Davis Cup trophy.
“I knew going into the match I had to enjoy myself and play well. When called on to play for your country you want to give 150%. I felt I belonged out there and especially on the mental side I felt I was good at handling my nerves. I think we were the better team in the first and third sets and just couldn’t capitalize. But credit to them, they played well when it mattered. It’s not about having good personal performances it’s about finding ways to win and we didn’t do that today.”
Philip Bester on his performance in his first Davis Cup match since 2011
“It’s always disappointing to lose, especially when playing for your country and your team but we gave it all we had so no regrets. It was tough conditions, tough opponents and just a tough weekend. Definitely not the way we wanted to go out.”
Vasek Pospisil commenting on the loss
“It wasn’t easy today even though we won in three sets. It think that the game we won at 4-5 coming back from 0-40 was extremely important because the match could have been totally different if we lost the first set. We played a good match today because we had to. We had a tough team in front of us.”
Richard Gasquet on the turning point of the doubles match
“We have to put this behind us and look ahead to the next one in September to stay in the World Group. Hopefully the guys play a lot of tennis between now and then, stay healthy and are ready to go for that one. World Group is tough to get in and tough to stay in and it’s a privilege and an honour to compete in it. We definitely are looking for that good feeling of winning again.”
Captain Martin Laurendeau on what’s next for Canada at Davis Cup
“Yesterday I said that the doubles is always a bit particular in a Davis Cup tie. We knew this weekend that if there was one match where Canada had an advantage on us, it was in the doubles. Our team reacted really well today during the important points and that was the key. In the end, I could not have asked for a better ending to the last 12 days that we spent together here in Guadeloupe then to win the first three matches in three sets.”
French captain Yannick Noah on his team’s victory