Milos Raonic defeats Santiago Giraldo in fourth match to secure victory; Canada wins 3-2 over Colombia in Halifax
Halifax, September 14, 2014 – The Canadian Davis Cup team has defeated Colombia 3-2 in their Davis Cup by BNP Paribas World Group Play-off at the Halifax Metro Centre in Halifax, Nova Scotia and thus will play in the elite 16-team World Group for a fourth straight year. With Canada entering Sunday’s schedule up 2-1 on the Colombian squad thanks to a singles sweep on Friday and a doubles loss on Saturday, Milos Raonic (Thornhill, Ont.) earned the clinching victory 6-1, 7-6(2), 7-5 over Santiago Giraldo in the duel between the two No. 1 players on the teams.
Raonic started the match strongly, breaking world No. 33 Giraldo’s first service game to take an early 2-0 lead and cruising to the opening set in just 24 minutes. The second set was much closer as Giraldo appeared to become more comfortable in the match. Raonic was forced to save two set points at the 4-5 mark, but was able to hold and subsequently took control of the tiebreaker. Taking an early lead in the third set, Raonic seemed in complete control. But Giraldo broke for the first time at 2-4 and consolidated to extend the match just a little bit longer, before the world No. 7 finally clinched the triumph by breaking for the win. In total, Raonic lost just 15 points on his serve through the entire two hour and 11-minute match.
“The most important thing I came here knowing was just get the win,” Raonic said. “I didn’t expect to play my best tennis, with the short turnaround from the US Open, especially because I had a busy summer. I came here with the intention of making sure I was mentally fresh. Maybe not playing the best tennis, but knowing at least that mentally I can compete to the best of my abilities and I was able to achieve that goal.”
The 23-year-old has now clinched five ties for Canada in fourth rubbers – the previous four being in Americas Zone Group I action against Mexico in 2011, in Canada’s 2012 World Group Play-off opposite South Africa, and in Canada’s World Group first round and quarter-final ties versus Spain and Italy in 2013.
“There is an extra pressure [when trying to clinch ties], but it’s really not any different from any other time,” Raonic said. “I was able to do the same thing for us four times. When I have that opportunity to face the best player from the other nation, I just find a way, and especially when it’s at home, where I feel the most comfortable.”
With the win, Canada has secured a place in the elite 16-team World Group for a fourth straight year. Since emerging from Americas Zone Group I in 2011, Canada has never dropped back to the second tier of Davis Cup play, and in a historic 2013 season the team advanced into the semifinals for the first time. Prior to then, Canada had only competed in the World Group three times – in 1991, 1992, and 2004. Colombia will drop back down to Americas Zone Group I and will again try to advance into the World Group Play-offs next year.
“We feel pretty happy and pretty relieved that we got the job done,” said Canadian Davis Cup team captain Martin Laurendeau. “You never know in Davis Cup. We had a good feeling going into it but after the doubles we had to regroup and come back today. So I’m glad we got the job done, the guys have proven we belong in the World Group.”
In the fifth rubber, which was best-of-three sets and had no bearing on the overall result of the tie, Frank Dancevic (Niagara Falls, Ont.) fell to Colombian Alejandro Gonzalez 4-6, 7-5, 6-2. The earlier results of the tie saw Pospisil secure a 6-3, 7-6(2), 6-3 triumph over Giraldo, Raonic give Canada the 2-0 lead with a 6-3, 6-3, 6-2 win against Gonzalez, and Pospisil and Daniel Nestor (Toronto) drop a 7-6(4), 7-6(7), 6-4 decision to Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah.
Canada and Colombia played in front of 5,586 fans at the Halifax Metro Centre on Sunday to bring the three-day total attendance to 15,516. This tie has now officially produced the second-largest total attendance for a Davis Cup tie in Canada, behind the World Group first round against Spain in Vancouver last February.
The Canadian squad will learn their fate for 2015 when the official Davis Cup by BNP Paribas draw for next year is completed on Thursday, September 18 and determines Canada’s first-round opponent and the host country. The 2015 World Group first round will take place from March 6-8.