Australia see off Finland to reach Davis Cup final for second-successive year

Alexei Popyrin and Alex De Minaur claimed singles victories in Malaga.

Eleanor Crooks
Friday 24 November 2023 19:22 GMT
Alexei Popyrin celebrated his first live Davis Cup win (Adam Davy/PA)
Alexei Popyrin celebrated his first live Davis Cup win (Adam Davy/PA)

Australia ended the surprise run of Finland to reach the Davis Cup final for the second year in a row.

Finland defeated Croatia and the USA in the group stage in September to qualify for the quarter-finals for the first time and then upset defending champions Canada on Tuesday.

Backed by thousands of fans in Malaga thanks to a sizeable local population of ex-pats, they hoped to continue the fairytale but found Australia too strong.

Otto Virtanen, ranked 171, had been the unlikely star of their run but he was beaten 7-6 (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 number one Emil Ruusuvuori from a shoulder injury but he was unable to capitalise on a good start against world number 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 they take on either Serbia or Italy in the final.

It is a 49th Davis Cup final for Australia but they have not lifted the trophy since 2003.

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