18 September 2012
The Canadian Davis Cup team will remain in the Davis Cup World Group after beating South Africa 4-1 at the Uniprix Stadium in Montreal over the weekend. It was the fourth defeat in four years for South Africa in promotion playoff ties.
It was always going to be an uphill battle for captain John-Laffnie de Jager and his charges with SA number one Kevin Anderson not available for the tie and number two Rik De Voest out through injury, while Canada featured Milos Raonic, their highest ranked player ever.
On day one of the clash, Canada’s number two Vasek Pospisil put the hosts in the pound seats by defeating SA number one Izak van der Merwe 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 in the opening match.
Raonic then saw off debutant Nikala Scholtz 7-5, 6-4, 7-5 to leave Canada within one match of victory after the first day’s action.
South African doubles win
With Daniel Nestor, a career Golden Slam winner in their doubles team, the Canadians were confident they could wrap up victory on day two in the doubles’ tie, but they were made to wait an extra day as Raven Klaasen and Izak van der Merwe outplayed Nestor and Pospisil 6-4, 7-6, 7-6.
It was left up to Raonic, the world number 15, to secure victory for Canada. In a clash of the number ones, he emerged a convincing 6-2, 6-2, 6-4 victor.
Raonic was dominant from the first ball, getting an early break in all three sets to maintain control throughout the match.
‘New era of Canadian tennis’
“I am proud to be part of this new era of Canadian tennis,” he said after his win.
“It’s great to be back in the World Group. There’s a lot of time between now and February for us all to improve so that we can improve our chances of advancing further in the World Group in 2013.”
Final singles match
In the final singles match, Frank Dancevic capped the weekend with a 6-2, 6-2 triumph over Nikala Scholtz to make the final score 4-1 in the Canadians’ favour.
“To qualify for the World Group for two straight years shows that we can consistently perform at a high level,” said Team Canada captain Martin Laurendeau.
“It was a great team effort this week starting with the way we practiced, the way we prepared for the tie, and the way we executed and played the matches.”
Canada’s victory meant they qualified for the World Group in consecutive years for the first time since 1991-92. Only 16 nations are included in the Davis Cup World Group.
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