For Dad: Bautista Agut gives Spain 1-0 lead over Canada

For Dad: Bautista Agut gives Spain 1-0 lead over Canada

Playing for the fourth successive day, the 33-year-old was surely exhausted and it began to show as Shapovalov fought to keep Canada alive in their first Davis Cup final.

Spain's Rafael Nadal celebrates after defeating Canada's Denis Shapovalov during the final singles tennis match between Canada and Spain at the Davis Cup Madrid Finals 2019 in Madrid on November 24, 2019.

The 33-year-old had been an unstoppable force in Spain's pulsating semi-final against Britain on Saturday and never looked like letting this chance slip, with King Felipe VI and Real Madrid's Sergio Ramos watching on, along with Barcelona defender Gerard Pique.

Canada fought back from 0-3 and 2-4 deficits in the tiebreak and earned a minibreak to go up 6-4.

But he remained on Canada's bench temporarily while Vancouver's Vasek Pospisil - the Davis Cup veteran on the team at 29 years old - rode a wave of momentum that included upset singles wins over three higher-ranked opponents throughout the week.

Shapovalov opted for more variety with a brilliant touch volley and then a deft drop-shot making things increasingly uncomfortable for Nadal, who came under pressure when serving to stay in the set both at 5-4 and 6-5.

The Canadian produced some fine shotmaking at 4-6 in the tie break, saving two match points and creating a set point at 7-6, denied by a forehand victor from Nadal who converted the third match point at 8-7 to deliver the sixth Davis Cup trophy for his country.

After an angry Nadal clashed with the umpire Britain led 6-4 but Lopez saved the first set point with a big serve and then Nadal produced miracles to flick a lob over Murray before putting away a smash as the Scot replied with a lob.

"It's pretty incredible to make the finals, first time in history for Canada. To do it the way it happened was pretty special to be a part of".

Clearly, the players still care about the Davis Cup, even in its new incarnation, and not just because of the $18m that is being shared out between them in prizemoney.

Rublev and Khachanov hit back to level, though, with Pospisil beginning to look understandably tired.

The top-ranked Nadal capped off a gruelling finals campaign by winning all of his eight matches at the 18-nation competition that debuted a World Cup-style format. Pospisil had 28 winners - including 15 aces - but was done in by 32 unforced errors. The pair would have teamed up again for the deciding doubles match, if needed. Shapovalov fired 11 aces to Khachanov's six, but double-faulted six times. Spain converted on its second match point.

Canada has been snapping losing streaks all tournament long.

Canada guaranteed its spot in the Davis Cup Finals tournament in 2020 by reaching the semi-finals this year.

Russia, which won the Davis Cup in 2002 and 2006, also used only Khachanov and Rublev.

"I'm at a loss for words", Shapovalov said.

"I don't think any of us expected that we could get this far", Shapovalov said.

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