TORONTO — The final match of Daniel Nestor’s Davis Cup career did not go as planned.
Nestor and partner Vasek Pospisil suffered a four-set loss to Matwe Middelkoop and Jean-Julien Rojer of the Netherlands on Saturday afternoon as Canada dropped to a 2-1 lead in their Davis Cup tie.
The 46-year-old Nestor represented Canada in the international tennis competition for 25 years, playing in over 50 Davis Cup ties, putting in over 1,100 weeks of work.
Nestor and Pospisil lost to the Dutch duo 6-3, 3-6, 4-6, 4-6 in front of a partisan crowd at Toronto’s Coca-Cola Coliseum.
Canada earned wins from Milos Raonic of Thornhill, Ont., and Denis Shapovalov of Richmond Hill, Ont., Friday night in the first and second singles rubbers.
The singles matchups will flip on Sunday, with Raonic playing Robin Haase and Shapovalov taking on Thiemo de Bakker.
Canada took an early 2-0 lead in the first set and never gave up its advantage. The Canadians won the first set when Rojer’s return was well wide of the court.
Middelkoop and Rojer came out strong in the second set, quickly taking a 3-0 lead. Although the Canadians battled back for three games, the Dutch were dominant and took the set.
Nestor and Pospisil showed more fire in the third set, but had some miscommunications, including calling for the same overhead smash but then both backing off of it. Although Pospisil hustled back and kept it in play, they ultimately lost the point and would go on to lose the set.
Canada held leads of 2-1 and 3-1 in the fourth set, but the strong play of Middelkoop at the net kept the Dutch alive. A double fault by Nestor gave the Netherlands their first lead of the fourth set, 4-3.
An ace followed by a poor return by Canada gave the Dutch another game point for a 5-3 advantage. The Canadians earned a point back when Middelkoop’s return went into the net.
Pospisil’s return went into the net, ending Nestor’s Davis Cup career on a low note.
Fans around Coca-Cola Coliseum wore red and white, waved Canadian flags and banged drums during stoppages in play. The crowd was more sedate than Friday night when the chair umpire had to threaten some fans with ejection in the fourth set of Shapovalov’s comeback victory over Haase.
Nestor’s skill in doubles competition has made him invaluable to Canada over the past quarter century, almost guaranteeing them a win on the second day of the three-day, five-match Davis Cup draws.
He’s won eight Grand Slam doubles titles over his lengthy ATP Tour career with a variety of partners and won gold for Canada at the 2000 Sydney Olympics with Sebastien Lareau. In 2002, Nestor peaked as the top doubles player in the world.
John Chidley-Hill, The Canadian Press