Australia sees off Finland to reach Davis Cup final
Australia ended the surprise run of Finland to reach the Davis Cup final for the second successive year.
Finland defeated Croatia and United States in the group stage in September to qualify for the quarter-finals for the first time and then upset defending champion Canada on Wednesday (AEDT).
Backed by thousands of fans in Malaga thanks to a sizeable local population of ex-pats, it hoped to continue the fairytale but found Australia too strong.
Otto Virtanen, ranked No.171, had been the unlikely star of its run but he was beaten 7-6 (7-5) 6-2 by Alexei Popyrin, a late call-up to the Australia team and picked ahead of Jordan Thompson, in the opening match.
It was a first victory in a live rubber for the 24-year-old, who said: “It’s nerves that I have never experienced before in my life.”
The Finns were boosted by the return of their No.1 Emil Ruusuvuori from a shoulder injury but he was unable to capitalise on a good start against world No.12 Alex De Minaur and went down 6-4 6-3.
Australia will now try to go one better than last year’s 2-0 loss to Canada when it takes on either Serbia or Italy in the final.
It is a 49th Davis Cup final for Australia but it has not lifted the trophy since 2003.