Canada's Nestor, Pospisil defeat India in doubles at Davis Cup tie
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EDMONTON — Rising star Denis Shapovalov will have a chance to send Canada through to the World Group for 2018 after a huge doubles win put Canada up 2-1 in its best-of-five Davis Cup tie against India.
Daniel Nestor and Vasek Pospisil came away with a clutch 7-5, 7-5, 5-7, 6-3 victory over Rohan Bopanna and Purav Raja of India in doubles play on Saturday to put Canada in the driver's seat heading into a pair of singles matches wrapping up play on Sunday.
Canadian Davis Cup team captain Martin Laurendeau said he expects Shapovalov to be ready and raring to go.
"We have one more point to win and the focus is on Denis right now because he is first up," Laurendeau said. "He's in a good place after doing his job as the No. 1 and getting a win (on Friday).
"This win today was huge and it gives him the opportunity to not have the burden to have to win that match and hopefully that frees him up a little bit and he can play his game the best he can."
Shapovalov, ranked 51st in singles, is coming off a dramatic five-set victory on Friday night over Yuki Bhambri (157th) and will now face Ramkumar Ramanathan (154th), who defeated Canada's Brayden Schnur (202nd) 3-1 to open the tournament.
Nestor, who played his 51st Davis Cup match and came in with a 32-11 doubles record, is 43rd amongst doubles players in the current global rankings, with Pospisil sitting in 111th. Bopanna came in at 19th and Purav Raja in 56th.
"I didn't think we were underdogs," Pospisil said. "We were playing at home and I was able to focus on the doubles knowing I wasn't playing the singles on Friday. I feel like when I can prepare just for doubles, that that would give us the edge."
The pairing of Nestor and Pospisil now hold a 6-4 record when playing together in doubles on the Davis Cup stage. Nestor, 45, declared his intention to retire next season earlier in the week.
"I thought it was a 50/50 chance for this game, as these guys have had a lot of success on tour, especially lately," Nestor said. "Vasek and I play sporadically, but when we play together, we play well. It was a close match. We were just fortunate enough to get ahead early and stay there.
"I'm just happy to get a win today and help out the team. I have had a tough year and wasn't sure about coming. But once I came here, I am happy that I came and was able to help the team with a win."
Canada is looking to extend its current record six-year spell in the World Group and has won six of its last seven home ties.
India is bidding to return to the World Group for the first time since 2011.
Schnur and Bhambri are scheduled to play in the second singles match on Sunday, although Pospisil, who avoided playing singles on Friday to nurse a back injury, may be available to step in for Schnur if needed should there be a fifth-and-deciding match.
Canada entered the event in 16th place in the world rankings, followed closely by India in 18th.