Canada started the defense of its Davis Cup title by beating Italy 3-0 in the group stage of the finals, with the United States, Britain and the Czech Republic also winning on Wednesday.
Alexis Galarneau beat Lorenzo Sonego 7-6 (8), 6-4 before Gabriel Diallo also won in straight sets — 7-5, 6-4 — against Lorenzo Musetti to assure victory for the Canadians in the Unipol Arena in Bologna. Galarneau then teamed up with Vasek Pospisil to win the doubles match, too.
Canada beat Australia in last year’s final to win the biggest men’s team event in tennis for the first time. Both countries qualified directly to the group stage of the finals, which consists of four groups of four teams — with the top two in each advancing to the Final 8 taking place in Malaga, Spain, in November.
Australia opened with a 2-1 loss to Britain in their group in Manchester, England. The Australians lost both singles matches in three sets, with Thanasi Kokkinakis beaten by Jack Draper and Alex de Minaur defeated by Dan Evans, before a consolation victory in the doubles for Matthew Ebden and Max Purcell.
The Americans opened their match in Split against host nation Croatia with a 6-4, 6-2 win for Mackenzie McDonald over Dino Prizmic only for 11th-ranked Frances Tiafoe to lose surprisingly to No. 77 Borna Gojo, 6-4, 7-6 (6).
In the deciding doubles, Austin Krajicek and Rajeev Ram beat Ivan Dodig and Mate Pavic 7-6 (5), 6-7 (3), 6-2 to secure a 2-1 win for the U.S.
The Czechs won 3-0 against Spain, which is without Wimbledon champion Carlos Alcaraz, in the Spanish city of Valencia.