Underdogs Finland stunned 32-times champions the United States on Saturday to seal their place in the Davis Cup quarter-finals for the first time, while the Czech Republic, Canada and Australia all advanced.
Otto Virtanen got Finland off to a solid start by outlasting Mackenzie McDonald 7-6(5) 1-6 7-6(7) before Emil Ruusuvuori sent Finland into the last eight from Group D with a hard-fought 7-6(1) 6-4 win over Tommy Paul in Split.
“It means a lot for the whole country and for tennis in Finland. It’s a huge thing and once again we proved how strong this team is,” Ruusuvuori said. “We’re going to Malaga.
“I skipped the U.S. Open as I was sick and didn’t come here in really good shape. I struggled today physically and it was a bit tough in the beginning. But you just have to keep fighting. I was able to find a way in two long sets.”
In Group C, already qualified Serbia found themselves down 2-0 against the Czechs after world number one Novak Djokovic had opted to skip the singles matches having guided them to victory over Spain a day earlier.
Dusan Lajovic crashed to a 6-3 6-2 defeat by Jakub Mensik to leave Serbia in a spot of bother in Valencia.
Laslo Djere, who has been in good form during the Finals group stage, overcame a back problem and dug deep to save four matchpoints in his clash with Jiri Lehecka but lost 7-6(7) 7-5 as the Czechs prevailed.