The Ymir brothers help Sweden dazzle Canada in the Davis Cup finals
Madrid – Before any match was played, Elias Ymir did not hesitate to say that Sweden can succeed in the Davis Cup finals despite being one of the lowest ranked countries in the competition.
He cemented his words with a big win in the opening Thursday, then cheered his brother Mikael in another singles match that snatched Sweden’s victory over 2019 runners-up Canada in Group B.
Top-ranked France and second-ranked Croatia also won on the opening day, while defending champions Spain were left without one of the biggest attractions after 18-year-old Carlos Alcaraz tested positive for coronavirus and had to be excluded from the team. Spain was due to start playing Ecuador on Friday in Group A.
France needed a rally against the 18th-seeded Czech Republic by winning three sets in the doubles after losing their opening singles to veteran Richard Gasquet.
Sweden also won the doubles match against Canada after Elias Ymir defeated Stephen Diaz 6-4 6-2 and Mikael Ymir defeated Vasek Pospisil 6-4 6-4.
“It’s a miracle. You can’t see it in almost any other country. It’s not in many sports, two brothers,” said Elias passes. “Our parents immigrated from Ethiopia. We are both like No. 1 and No. 2, representing Sweden at the biggest tennis event in the world. You don’t see it often.”
Elias Yammer, seeded 171, went up after losing 4-1 in the first set to Diaz. Mikael Yammer, seeded 93 and two years younger than Elias, converted his two break point chances against Pospisil.
Mikael Ymir said that their victories will certainly resonate back home.
“Growing up was also one of my dad’s big dreams,” he said. “Although I don’t think much about it during play or during the week, for me it’s about the team and the country. Of course, there are moments here and there when I sit and think it’s beautiful, it’s a beautiful story.”
In the doubles match, Andre Goransson and Robert Lindstedt beat Pospisil and Brayden Schnur 7-6 (5), 6-4 to give the Swedes the three points.
Sweden ranks 14th in the Davis Cup rankings and is experiencing its first appearance in the revamped competition. She is trying to reach the quarter-finals of the Davis Cup for the first time since 2011.
“I said (we can win this) because I think faith is very important. It’s something everyone should work on,” said Ilyas Ymir. “I said that because, yeah, if I don’t think we can win this, why should we be here? ?”
Sixth-seeded Canada lost to hosts Spain in the final of the first edition of the event, when Pospisil was one of their key players.
The second edition of the Davis Cup Finals began with two other leagues held simultaneously in Austria and Italy.
Croatia and Australia
In Turin, Borna Gogo and Marin Cilic gave 2018 champions Croatia a win over 28-times winners Australia in Group D.
Gojo, seeded 276, defeated #61 Alexei Popyrin 7-6 (5), 7-5 after saving all five break points he faced. No. 30 Cilic outscored No. 34 Alex de Minaur 6-1, 5-7, 6-4.
France – Czech Republic
The Czech Republic took a 1-0 lead against France when 21-year-old Thomas Machak beat Gasquet 7-6, 6-2 (3) in Group C in Innsbruck. The 35-year-old Gasquet received 11 aces against 143rd seed Machak in an empty arena due to the coronavirus restrictions in Austria.
France tied the series when Adrian Mannarino clinched a win over Jerry Vessely 6-7 (1), 6-4, 6-2, then Pierre Hughes Herbert and Nicholas Mahut came back from behind to defeat Jerry Leschka and Machak 3-6, 6-4, 6- 3.
Each match on the indoor hard court is the best of three series comprising two singles matches and one doubles match. The six group winners plus the two runners-up with the best records based on groups and matches will advance to the quarter-finals.
The 18-team competition was not played last year due to the pandemic. No fans will be allowed in Innsbruck, capacity is 60% in Turin and 75% in Madrid, where fans were on hand for the opening match between Sweden and Canada.
Held entirely in Madrid over seven days in 2019, the event was extended to 11 days this time after criticism from players and fans over late-night matches in mostly empty arenas and insufficient rest between matches.
More from AP Tennis: https://apnews.com/hub/tennis and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
Azzoni Tales on Twitter: http://twitter.com/tazzoni
Copyright 2021 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.