For Dad: Bautista Agut gives Spain 1-0 lead over Canada

Roberto Bautista Agut returned to the Spanish team three days after the death of his father and beat Félix Auger-Aliassime in straight sets to give Spain a 1-0 lead over Canada in the Davis Cup final

Three days after the death of his father, Roberto Bautista Agut beat Félix Auger-Aliassime 7-6 (3), 6-3 to give Spain a 1-0 lead over Canada in the Davis Cup final on Sunday.

An emotional Bautista Agut pointed his finger to the sky while celebrating his victory.

Top-ranked Rafael Nadal can secure Spain the title at the inaugural Davis Cup Finals with a victory against Denis Shapovalov in the second singles match later Sunday.

Bautista Agut hadn’t played since leaving the Spanish team a day after defeating Nikola Mektic of Croatia on Wednesday. His father died on Thursday after an illness that stemmed from a 2016 accident.

Bautista Agut prevailed in the first-set tiebreaker and earned two breaks early in the second set to clinch the win on his first match point.

Spain’s Marcel Granollers and Feliciano López were scheduled to face Shapovalov and Vasek Pospisil in the doubles, although Nadal is likely to play if the title was at stake. Nadal played in the decisive doubles on Friday and Saturday.

Canada is seeking its first Davis Cup title. Five-time champion Spain — in its 10th final — hasn’t won the competition since 2011.

The 19-year-old Auger-Aliassime was making his debut in this year’s Davis Cup after an ankle injury that kept him sidelined through the group stage and the first two rounds of the knockout round.

Canada came to Madrid without Milos Raonic because of a back injury. Shapovalov and Pospisil were the only players who had competed until Sunday.

Spain used its five players this week, with Nadal winning all of his seven matches entering the final.

Colombian singer Shakira performed before the final at the Caja Mágica center court, and Spanish King Felipe VI was among those watching.

The new Davis Cup Finals is the result of a 25-year partnership between the International Tennis Federation and the Kosmos group co-founded by Barcelona star Gerard Piqué, Shakira’s husband. The new event was created to make the team competition more attractive and lucrative.

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