Malaga | Australia make their 49th appearance in the final

Davis Cup serial winners of the 123-year-old old competition with 28 wins from 48 final appearances, second only to the USA with 29 victories, brought to an end the Finnish dream of possibly capturing their first!

"No Davis Cup match is easy, and you don't take anything for granted, rankings get thrown out the window Lleyton Hewitt

Finland, making their debut in the latter stages of the Davis Cup couldn’t force the semi-final tie into a deciding doubles rubber but can return to Helsinki well satisfied with their run this year having beaten Argentina in qualifying and the US and Croatia in the group stage plus Canada, the defending champions, in this week’s quarter final round.

On Friday, though, Australia proved too powerful for them.

Alex Popyrin dealt them the first blow when he defeated the Finn’s star player in the previous round, Otto Virtanen 7-6(5) 6-2 to open the Aussie account and he was followed by Alex de Minaur who beat their No1 player Emil Ruusuvuori 6-4 6-3 to progress through to the final for a 49th time.

Both matches were in fact tough encounters and proved that despite being Davis Cup debutants, the Finns merited being in in the last eight despite being viewed as underdogs from the start!

The responsibility of winning to force a doubles decider proved too big a hurdle for Ruusuvuori to clear.

He made a good start though to go 2-0 up but the Assie No.1 quickly recovered on his sixth break point to get back on serve, and then broke he Finn twice.

The world No. 69 broke De Minaur’s serve for a second time to hang on for 3-5 but two games later De Minaur pocketed the set on his third attempt.

After losing his serve to go 2-1 down, Ruusuvuori’s resistance cracked as De Minaur closed out the second rubber on his first match point after 94-minutes.

“No Davis Cup match is easy, and you don’t take anything for granted, rankings get thrown out the window,” Lleyton Hewitt, the Aussie captain said after their 2-0 win.

“We knew they were going to be tough opponents. I’m really proud of the boys. Alexei stood up when he needed to today. That was a big day for him, big result. Super proud of him. He’s done a lot of hard work.
“He got his opportunity today and he took it with both hands.

“Then Alex went out there, competed, did absolutely everything that we asked of him and what we expect. He deserved to be out there when we went through to the final.”

De Minaur added: “For me that match [against Ruusuvuori] was a little bit of a relief. Extreme team effort, again, as Lleyton said. Alexei coming out, not having played for Australia since 2021, coming out to play a semi-final match against a guy that’s ranked 170 but plays like a top-50 player and came out with a huge, huge win.”

Australia, who last won the title 20 years ago, now await their final opponents, Serbia or Italy, who play their semi-final on Saturday,

Alex De Minaur embraces Lleyton Hewitt after claiming a spot in the final

(Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images for ITF)



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