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Canada is one win away advancing to the Davis Cup World Group Round-Robin in September, after sweeping South Korea at the National Tennis Centre Jarry Park in the opening singles on Friday.
Vasek Pospisil beat Hong Seong Chan 6-4, 6-3. Gabriel Diallo of Montreal won the first match in the best-of-5 series by beating Kwon Soon woo 6-4, 6-4.
Canada only needs to win one of its three matches on Sunday to return to the 16 nation round-robin stage.
Pospisil and Laval’s Alexis Galarneau will kick off Saturday’s schedule at 2 p.m. with a doubles match against Nam Ji-sung and Song Min-kyu. Diallo will play Kwon and Pospsil against Nam Ji-sung. However, there may be substitutions in the event of a tie.
Diallo’s victory was crucial because Kwon was the wild card in this tie. His ranking dropped from No. 700 after a shoulder injury sidelined him for six months last year, but when Canada faced Korea in 2022, Kwon upset Montrealer Félix Auger-Aliassime.
Diallo lost a service break at the beginning of each set. However, he recovered immediately and broke Kwon’s back at 5-4.
Kwon won the first set with a 3-2 break, but then he double-failed twice in the next game, allowing Diallo to get back into the match. Kwon scored only one point out of the 10thDiallo to receive the set.
Kwon led 4-3 in the second game after Diallo’s first double-fault was served on break point. Diallo evened the score in the next game by battling back after a 40-15 loss and winning on his fourth opportunity to break. Kwon once again took a lead of 40-15 in the 10.thDiallo won the game when Kwon’s forehand was too long.
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“I stayed composed after he broke me because my ground strokes were solid and I had some looks on his serve,” Diallo said. “I think he let his guard down after he broke me.
“In the second set, I knew that I had come back in the first set and I was confident I could do it again. I just had to keep being aggressive and concentrate on returning his serve.”
Diallo said that he was in familiar territory, and was buoyed up by a nearly sold-out crowd of 2,082.
“It’s always a privilege to represent Canada, especially here in my neighbourhood,” Diallo said. ”My home was seven minutes from here and I played on these courts when I was growing up.”
“I played OK, but I couldn’t take advantage after I got the first breaks,” Kwon said. “My game plan is to get the early break but, once I got it, I started to think too much.”
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