Almost a year ago, in the Davis Cup qualifying round, Nam Ji-sung and Song Min-kyu achieved a doubles victory that allowed South Korea to begin a spectacular comeback and defeat Belgium after losing the first two matches individual the day before. . Gabriel Diallo made sure that Canada was not dealt the same trick.
Diallo propelled Canada into the group stage of the Davis Cup Finals with a 7-5, 4-6, 6-1 victory over South Korea’s Hong Seongchan in front of a crowd of 1,925 on Saturday at the stadium. IGA.
Diallo thus crowned a dream weekend by winning two Davis Cup matches in his hometown of Montreal. On Friday he defeated Kwon Soonwoo in straight sets to give Canada a 1-0 lead.
Vasek Pospisil followed up with a straight sets victory against Hong.
“It’s very special. It’s my home,” Diallo responded when asked to describe what this victory this weekend meant to him.
“I am very grateful for the fact that (captain) Frank (Dancevic) is giving me the opportunity to play in front of my family, my friends and all the people in my neighborhood. Winning two games at home with an atmosphere like that is very difficult to reproduce, very difficult to replicate on the circuit (ATP). They are moments that I will remember for the rest of my life.”
Ups and downs
A bit like during his match on Friday, the 22-year-old from Montreal showed two facets of his tennis personality.
On serve, Diallo was often dominant, particularly in the first set in which she gave up just six points in six games, totaling five aces and facing no break points.
However, he also made many unforced errors: 64 in the entire match, compared to 36 winners.
Diallo’s erratic play came to haunt him in the ninth game of the second set, when he found himself facing two break points on serve when the score was 4-4.
He saved the first with a winning serve, but not the second, which he lost on a half-volley that ended up in the net.
The trend continued in the next game. This time, Diallo benefited from two break chances, but he wasted them after two forehand errors. Another blunder, this one on the backhand, allowed Hong to force a deciding set.
“At one point in the second (set), I lost my identity a little bit, but that’s part of tennis, it’s part of the experience of a match. You have to know how to manage when you have very good phases. Then, when there are phases that go a little worse, there may be several reasons. The most important thing is to be able to find the level necessary to win your match, no matter how you play,” Diallo explained.
And that’s exactly what Diallo accomplished in the third round. Over the course of his first three service games, he landed three aces and only conceded four points.
Above all, he looked for a crucial break in the fourth game to build a 3-1 lead, when Hong sent a forehand past the baseline.
The same scenario was repeated two games later, giving Diallo the opportunity to serve for the match with a 5-1 lead. And he didn’t waste his chance, winning all four points on his serve, the last on a Hong backhand that went into the net.
“I started playing a little more aggressively. I started going up to the net a lot more, I gave him less time and by giving him less time, he gave me more easy balls,” Diallo described when talking about his game in the third set.
For the South Koreans, Friday’s two individual defeats hurt, according to captain Kim Young-jun.
“We believe that we played better today, but we regret yesterday’s games more.”
South Korea wins double
This match between Diallo and Hong became necessary after Nam and Song won the doubles match that started Saturday’s hostilities in three sets of 6-4, 6-7 (4), 6-3 against Alexis Galarneau and Vasek Pospisil .
After conceding the second set in a stunning tiebreaker, the South Koreans reacted vigorously by breaking Pospisil’s serve in the second game of the third set. This rest was enough for the South Koreans.
“It is a pity. In the third set I think they served well. There was a game in which we didn’t convert some balls. “That’s what makes the difference,” Galarneau analyzed.
The Laval resident admitted that his start to the match was a little difficult and that he felt some nervousness.
“Of course, at the beginning of the game it was a little complicated. A little nervousness, a little ignorance due to the fact that he had not played official matches for two months,” explained Galarneau.
“But with the help of Vasek, with the help of the crowd, I think from match to match I started to play better and better and I started to feel a little more comfortable on the court again.”