SPLIT, Croatia (AP) — Frances Tiafoe was beaten for the second straight time in the Davis Cup Finals, with his latest defeat on Thursday coming after a code violation on match point for smashing his racket into the ground following a disagreement with the chair umpire.
Tiafoe’s 6-3, 6-7 (7), 7-6 (2) loss to Tallon Griekspoor helped give the Netherlands a 2-1 victory over the United States in Group D in Split.
Tiafoe was upset because he wanted to replay a point following a challenge. He unsuccessfully argued with the umpire and the match referee, then returned to the court and smashed his racket four times, leading to his second code violation and the loss of a point. It resulted in the end of the match, as he was losing 6-2 in the tiebreaker.
“The end of the match is super unfortunate. A lot transpired there at the end with the call there at 5-2,” Tiafoe said. “Obviously I could have responded in a better way but emotions are flying, I’m competing for my country, I really want to win. Broke a racquet there and I forgot I had a code violation earlier in the match, match is over. I gave it my all. It’s been a tough stretch for me over here in Croatia.”
Botic Van de Zandschulp had beaten Tommy Paul 7-6 (2), 6-2 in the opening singles match. The U.S. later won the doubles with Austin Krajicek and Rajeev Ram defeating Wesley Koolhof and Matwe Middelkoop 7-6 (5), 6-7 (3), 6-3.
Tiafoe, who reached the quarterfinals at the U.S. Open earlier this month, had lost to Croatian Borna Gojo on Wednesday in a tie the Americans won 2-1.
The Netherlands had opened with a win against Finland and now lead the group.
Defending champion Canada earlier defeated Sweden 3-0 to take the lead in Group A.
Gabriel Diallo secured the Canadians the point with a 6-4, 6-3 win over Elias Ymer. Vasek Pospisil had given Canada a 1-0 lead by defeating Leo Borg 7-6 (5), 5-7, 6-2. Borg is the son of 11-time Grand Slam champion Bjorn Borg. Canada won the doubles match in straight sets.
“This was a huge match for Canada, for this tie today,” Pospisil said. “We’re getting close to getting through our group stage but there is still a lot more work to be done so it’s a big one for us.”
The titleholders had opened their title defense with another 3-0 win over host Italy on Wednesday in Bologna, while Sweden was swept by Chile on Tuesday.
Canada, on a 10-match winning streak, is trying to secure its spot in the quarterfinals for the third time in its last four appearances, while Sweden was looking to make it to the last eight for the second time in three years.
Sweden had won the two times that the nations faced each other, including in the group stage in Madrid in 2021, though Canada was without its top stars at the time — Felix Auger-Aliassime and Denis Shapovalov.
Australia rallied to defeat France 2-1 after Matthew Ebden and Max Purcell defeated Nicolas Mahut and Edouard Roger-Vasselin 7-5, 6-3 in the decisive doubles match in Group B in Manchester. In the singles, Adrian Mannarino had defeated Purcell, while and Alex de Minaur beat Ugo Humbert.
“For us to regroup and get the win against a quality team in France today was really important,” Australia captain Lleyton Hewitt said. “It was backs against the wall, we dug deep and we’re still hanging in there.”
The Czech Republic defeated South Korea 3-0 in Group C in Valencia.
The top two teams in each of the four groups will advance to the Final 8 that will be played in November in the southern Spanish city of Malaga.