(Montreal) Gabriel Diallo propelled Canada to the group stage of the Davis Cup Finals with a 7-5, 4-6, 6-1 victory over South Korea’s Hong Seongchan in front of a crowd of 1,925 spectators, including several South Korea supporters, Saturday at the IGA stadium.
A bit like during his match on Friday which he won in straight sets against Kwon Soonwoo, the 22-year-old Montrealer showed two facets of his tennis personality.
On serve, Diallo was often dominant, particularly in the first set in which he gave up only six points in six games, totaled five aces and faced no break points.
However, he also made many unforced errors – 64 in the entire match, compared to 36 winners.
One of these unforced errors occurred during the third game of the second set which allowed Hong to recover a break of service that the South Korean had given up just before, in a thrilling game, scored by 18 points .
Diallo’s erratic play came back to haunt him in the ninth game of this set, when he found himself facing two break points with the score at 4-4.
He saved the first with a winning serve, but not the second, which he lost on a half-volley which ended up in the net.
The trend continued in the next game. This time, Diallo benefited from two break chances, but he wasted them following two forehand errors. Another blunder, this one on the backhand, allowed Hong to force a deciding set.
During this third round, Diallo regained his energy. Over the course of his first three service games, he had three aces and conceded only four points.
But above all, he went for a crucial break in the fourth game, when Hong sent a forehand beyond the baseline.
The same scenario repeated itself two games later, giving Diallo the chance to serve for the match with a 5-1 cushion. And he didn’t miss his chance, winning all four points on his serve, the last on a Hong backhand into the net.
Diallo won the initial round thanks to a break made during the 12the game, the only one in the set.
He first gave himself a set point thanks to a beautiful backhand volley. He converted this opportunity on the next point with a forehand that Hong could do nothing about.
South Korea wins double
This match between Diallo and Hong became necessary after the tandem of Nam Ji-sung and Song Min-kyu won the doubles match which kicked off Saturday’s hostilities in three sets of 6-4, 6- 7 (4), 6-3 against Alexis Galarneau and Vasek Pospisil
After conceding the second set in a breathtaking tiebreaker, the South Koreans reacted vigorously by breaking Pospisil’s serve in the second game of the third set.
Until then, Pospisil had been incisive in his service, conceding only eight points in six games.
The South Koreans consolidated this break, not without having to save a break point in the process, and were able to build a 3-0 cushion that the two Canadians were not able to erase.
“It’s just a shame. In the third set, I think they served well. There was a game where we didn’t convert a few balls. That’s what makes the difference,” analyzed Galarneau.
The Laval resident admitted that his start to the match was a little difficult and that he felt a certain amount of jitters.
“Of course, at the start of the match, it was a little complicated. A little nervousness, a little unknown due to the fact that I hadn’t played competitive matches for two months,” explained Galarneau.
“But with the help of Vasek, with the help of the crowd, I think from game to game I started to play better and better and started to be a little more comfortable on the court again,” he said. -he added.
The match ended when Song, serving efficiently throughout the match, hit an ace.
“This match could have been our last, but I played very, very often with my partner, and we have confidence in ourselves,” Song said.
“We told ourselves that we would not let the pressure get the best of us and that we would play as well as possible,” he added.