At the Halifax Metro Centre on Sunday Canada had two chances to take the best-of-five series up 2-1. A singles win by either Raonic or Vasek Pospisil would lift Canada to victory in the two nations’ Davis Cup Play-off.
The crowd didn’t have to wait for a nail-biting fifth rubber as Raonic made quick work of Santiago Giraldo 6-1, 7-6 (7-2), 6-4.
The Canadian star – ranked seventh on the planet in men’s singles – showed world class domination in the opening frame, breaking Giraldo twice in the first set for a comfortable 6-1 victory in just 24 minutes.
Milos Raonic was in control of the match against Santiago Giraldo from the start.
Giraldo was more focused in the second set and refused to let this one get away from him, fighting off break points in a long third game. Neither player was to have their service games broken, leading to the tiebreak where Raonic won the opening point on a mini-break and roared on to a 7-2 win.
Raonic broke Giraldo in the fourth game of the final set, returning the Colombian’s serve with a cross-court forehand winner before consolidating to take a commanding 4-1 lead. Despite Giraldo winning a break point in the seventh game, Raonic regained his composure and closed out the match.
More to come.
The loss still keeps Canada ahead in the best-of-five series 2-1, with a pair of singles matches to play on Sunday. A win in either contest would give Canada a berth in the elite 2015 Davis Cup World Group.
The home crowd in Halifax was at its best once again, but so were Cabal and Farah, committing only nine unforced errors in the contest. The pair play together regularly on the ATP tour and their familiarity showed as they won 7-6 (7-4), 7-6 (9-7) and 6-4.
Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah embrace after keeping Colombia alive in their Davis Cup tie versus Canada.
Neither team offered a break point opportunity in the first set, holding serve convincingly, setting up the tiebreak where the Colombians never trailed and ultimately pulled away winning 7-4. That was the first set dropped by Canada in this Davis Cup tie. Pospisil and Milos Raonic won their singles matches in straight sets a day earlier.
Canada looked to gain momentum breaking the Colombians in the opening game of the second set to the roaring approval of the home crowd. But the South Americans broke right back and consolidated. Colombia took firm control of the second tiebreak as they had done in the previous, but Nestor and Pospisil valiantly fought back from three consecutive set points, then a fourth before succumbing 9-7.
Daniel Nestor (right) and Vasek Pospisil during warm-up prior to their Davis Cup match versus Colombia’s Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah.
The final set too looked like it would go the distance, until the Colombians broke Canada on Nestor’s serve at 4-4 and consolidated serve to win the match.
On Sunday, Colombia will continue with its do-or-die display in a battle of top singles players for the two nations. Canada will send Raonic to the hard court to face Santiago Giraldo. Should there be a fifth rubber necessary to settle the tie, Pospisil is likely carry Canada’s hope against Alejandro Gonzalez, although Frank Dancevic is also available for team captain Martin Laurendeau to select for the red and white.
Pospisil beat his higher ranked Colombian opponent Santiago Giraldo 6-3, 7-6 (7-2), 6-3 in Friday’s opening match in the Davis Cup World Group play-off. Raonic then took the court at Halifax Metro Centre and delivered a 6-3, 6-3, 6-2 victory over Alejandro Gonzalez that gave Canada a 2-0 lead in the tie.
The country that wins the best-of-five (which consists of four singles matches sandwiching a doubles tie over three days) takes a spot in the elite World Group for the 2015 Davis Cup contested between the planet’s top tennis nations.
Pospisil consolidated a break in the first set before holding off Giraldo, saving his final service game to take the lead on Friday.
Pospisil fans show off their “V-A-S-E-K” tshirt in Halifax.
Despite some early frustrations in the second set, Pospisil showed tremendous character, feeding off a loud, supportive crowd in Halifax to fight back from down a break to force a tiebreaker. There he completely dominated Giraldo to take a two-sets-to-zero lead.
In what proved to be the final set, Giraldo looked out of gas against an increasingly confident Pospisil and the relentless Canadian supporters who used every opening in the match to get behind their player. Pospisil comfortably served out the match taking the third set 6-3.
Raonic took on Gonzalez in the second rubber of the day, hoping to give Canada a massive advantage heading into Saturday. Gonzalez – making his Davis Cup debut – had replaced the more experienced Alejandro Falla in the Colombian team this week after the latter suffered a shoulder injury.
Raonic smashes an overhead volley to finish a first set rally against Gonzalez.
It took 41 minutes to complete the first set thanks largely to a long third game where Gonzalez, 25, repeatedly threatened to break the Canadian. After surviving multiple break points, Raonic fired a couple of his customary aces in the 210 km/h neighbourhood to hold and didn’t look back.
The second set took just over a half hour with Raonic up a break early. The Canadian broke his Colombian opponent in the final game to win the set, leaving Gonzalez a very steep hill to climb.
In the final set Raonic sprinted ahead to a 3-0 lead, consolidating a break in the third game to the approval of the partisan home crowd on way to Canada’s second consecutive straight-sets victory. Raonic won 75% of his first serves versus Gonzalez’ 59% success and the Canadian hit 30 aces while the Colombian could only manage one.
Now up 2-0 in the best-of-five, Canada has a chance to close out the Colombians and keep its place in the World Group for the 2015 Davis Cup. On Saturday, Pospisil will partner doubles legend Daniel Nestor against the experienced Colombian duo of Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah, who will look to extend their country’s 2015 Davis Cup hopes into Sunday.