Canada push Spain to brink of shock Davis Cup exit
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Canada raced to a 2-0 lead over Spain in their Davis Cup world group first round tie on Friday, pushing the five-times champions closer to defeat.
With top-ranked Spain missing big guns Rafa Nadal, David Ferrer and Nicolas Almagro, the Canadians seized their chance when Milos Raonic and Frank Dancevic dominated the clay-loving Iberians on the lightning fast Vancouver hard courts.
Raonic, the world number 15, delivered as expected, to tame feisty Alberto Ramos 6-7 6-4 6-4 6-4 before Frank Dancevic, ranked 161, destroyed world number 34 Marcel Granollers 6-1 6-2 6-2.
Spain looked determined to make it a difficult day for Canada when Ramos, making his Davis Cup debut, fought off three break points on his opening serve then forced the first set tie-break, which he won 7-5 when rattled Raonic sent his forehand long.
There would be few other miscues, though, as Raonic broke Ramos to open the second set and then collected the decisive break at 4-4 in the third on his way to a 2-1 lead.
At 4-4 in the fourth, Raonic broke Ramos again before serving out the match with two thundering aces.
"It wasn't always the prettiest but thankfully I'm through." Raonic told court-side television as the celebration erupted around him. "I just put everything aside and focused on winning.
"I was hoping to turn the match in the first set, I had three early chances on his serve, three forehands into the net, I couldn't change it around there.
"But as soon as I got that first break right away in the second it let me play a little more freely."
Dancevic, still chasing his first career ATP Tour title, dropped to his knees and clenched his fists to celebrate the biggest win of his career when a Granollers return hit the net.