Canada take early Davis Cup lead over South Africa

Wins from Pospisil and Raonic put hosts up 2-0

It was a great start for Canada on Friday at the Davis Cup in Montreal with a pair of wins giving the team a 2-0 lead in their series against South Africa.

Canada didn’t drop a set as Vasek Pospisil and Milos Raonic both won their matches.

Pospisil was up first at Uniprix Stadium against South African right-hander Izak van der Merwe.

The 22-year-old Canadian, ranked 116th in men’s singles, had little trouble against his opposition defeating van der Merwe 6-3, 6-4, 6-4.

It was the first-ever meeting between the two players, and despite Pospisil struggling with serve throughout the match, he served seven aces and broke ven der Merwe’s serve on four occasions.

“It feels incredible to get the first point for our team,” said Pospisil. “There’s a lot of pressure and expectations that come with playing Davis Cup. I care about representing Canada, so this means a lot.”

His victory was instantly followed by Raonic taking on South Africa’s Nikala Scholtz, also the first time that the two players had met.

In typical fashion, Raonic served up 26 aces and didn’t lose his serve on a single occasion.

But the Thornhill native, who is ranked 15th in the world, took his time breaking serve. Only late in the first set did he finally break Scholtz to take it 7-5.

Things went a little smoother for Raonic in the second set. After breaking early, he continued to serve strongly taking set 6-4.

And the big-serving Canadian finally took the match by winning the third set 7-5.

“I didn’t play as well as I wanted to, but what’s important is that I got the win,” said Raonic. “Vasek won as well and we are in a great position for the rest of the weekend. I’ll work on by game and be ready for Sunday.”

Today’s action followed an interesting letter from South African tennis player Kevin Anderson who took to his blog this morning in an attempt to clarify why he isn’t joining his Davis Cup teammates in Montreal this weekend.

Anderson, the top-ranked South African on the ATP Tour, was the recipient of all kinds of criticism following his withdrawal from the national team ahead of their playoff clash against Canada.

But he set the record straight in a strongly-worded blog post this morning.

“Tennis South Africa was not able to provide the support that justified me sacrificing my schedule and increasing my risk of injury,” Anderson wrote.

“If I am injured during Davis Cup play, which happened last year, I receive no support, assistance or insurance from anybody. I am on my own.

“I told TSA during Wimbledon that the compensation for the tie needed to be sufficient to address the issues at hand. I was available to play the tie against Canada if TSA had made me an offer that addressed my concerns. However, they did not.”

With Canada up 2-0 in the series, a win in tomorrow’s doubles match between Daniel Nestor and Pospisil against Raven Klaasen and van der Merwe will give the Canadian team the series and qualify them for next year’s World Group.