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Davis Cup Finals 2023: Australia beat Finland 2-0 to reach second successive final

Australia captain Lleyton Hewitt hugging Alex de Minaur after his win over Emil Ruusuvuori
Australia captain Lleyton Hewitt (left) hugs Alex de Minaur after his win over Emil Ruusuvuori

Alex de Minaur cruised past Emil Ruusuvuori to seal a 2-0 win for Australia over Finland and send Lleyton Hewitt’s team through to a second successive Davis Cup final.

De Minaur won 6-4 6-3 to set up a meeting with Serbia or Italy on Sunday.

“For us this cup is a priority. We do everything we can to represent Australia, with pride and passion,” said the world number 12.

Alexei Popyrin beat 7-6 (7-5) 6-2 Otto Virtanen in the first singles rubber.

The captains agreed not to play the doubles rubber after Australia’s victories in the singles contests.

Serbia face Italy in the second semi-final in Malaga on Saturday, with Novak Djokovic and Jannik Sinner set to play central roles.`

Australia captain Hewitt’s side were beaten by Canada in the 2022 final. The last time Australia won the competition, in 2003, Hewitt won the opening singles match to set them on the path to victory against Spain.

Hewitt said of Friday’s win against Finland: “Our boys dug really deep. We’re a tight-knit unit and we’ve given ourselves another opportunity on Sunday.”

De Minaur recovered from losing an early break to take a tight first set against Ruusuvuori, who showed no ill-effects from a shoulder problem that kept him out of Finland’s quarter-final win over defending champions Canada.

Ruusuvuori played aggressively at the start of the second set to try to get back into the match, but De Minaur broke in the third game for a lead he never relinquished.

Popyrin had earlier put 28-times Davis Cup champions Australia in control with victory over Virtanen.

The world number 40, a late replacement at the Finals for the injured Thanasi Kokkinakis, saved a set point in the first set before taking it on a tie-break.

A double fault from Virtanen allowed Popyrin to take an early lead in the second before closing out the set for his first victory at a Davis Cup Finals.

“It was an amazing feeling, one of the highlights of my career, unbelievable,” said the 24-year-old. “It’s nerves that I’ve never experienced before in my life.”

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