Roberto Bautista fought back to beat Canada’s Vasek Pospisil 3-6, 6-3, 6-3, and give Spain a 1-0 lead in their group tie at the Davis Cup Finals on Friday.
Carlos Alcaraz, the newly crowned world No. 1 and U.S. Open champion, will next face Canada’s Felix Auger-Aliassime.
Bautista helped Spain beat Serbia 3-0 on Wednesday while Alcaraz was resting after jetting home from New York where he won his first Grand Slam on Sunday.
The indoor venue in Valencia was packed with Spaniards eager to see their new teen idol. The 19-year-old Alcaraz was busy signing autographs and posing for photos after practice. He received the biggest applause when the Spain team was presented and was introduced as the “new world No. 1.”
After Spanish fans had to stay up practically all night to watch his matches at the U.S. Open due to the time difference, this is the first chance that many of his supporters have to watch him play at home since May when he won the Madrid Open.
Alcaraz beat Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Alexander Zverev in the capital in what many saw as Nadal passing the torch to his Spanish successor.
Red and yellow flags were draped over railings at the pavilion, including one with the name of Alcaraz’s home region, Murcia, painted in big black letters. Valencia, on the Mediterranean coast, is about 2 1/2 hours north of Alcaraz’s hometown of El Palmar, population 24,000.
Three other venues across Europe are hosting group stage matches ahead of the single-venue quarterfinals in November in the southern Spanish city of Málaga.
Also on Friday, Italy plays Argentina in Group A in Bologna, Italy, Germany plays Belgium in Group C in Hamburg, Germany, and Britain plays Netherlands in Glasgow, Scotland.
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