11
Feb
12

Canada and France are tied at 1-1, today’s doubles are critical for both teams.

Thornhill's Milos Raonic prepares to serve in his Davis Cup match against France on Friday night in Vancouver.

Canadian captain Martin Laurendeau has to at the very least consider putting Raonic in the dubs as well instead of Pospisil on Saturday. For starters, Pospisil was obviously demoralized by his very forgettable performance against the powerful Tsonga. He wondered aloud in post-match interviews whether he’d be chosen to play doubles. More to the point, he’s just not playing very well at the moment, and hasn’t delivered a great deal of elite tennis since his magical Davis Cup performance for Canada in Israel last September. So the smart move for Laurendeau might be to wheel out Raonic, a strong doubles player himself, and that awesome serve. Beat the French in doubles, and Canada still has a shot at the huge upset.

The final choices don’t have to be announced until noonish on Saturday, with the match set for 2 p.m. local time (5 p.m. in Toronto). But after a day on which the pro-Canada crowd at Thunderbird Arena on the grounds of UBC started to get the feel of what’s permissable in Davis Cup and the kind of difference they might be able to make this weekend, expect Saturday and Sunday to be filled with raw emotion along with pounding drums, bugles, thundersticks and manner of things not usually associated with this sport. While Pospisil wilted, Raonic had the crowd in full roar by the end of his triumph over Benneateau, with his powerful serve hammering out 24 aces and frustrating the overmatched Frenchman every time he got a sniff. What Raonic didn’t deliver against Lleyton Hewitt at the Australian Open – a dominant performance — he most surely did deliver against Benneteau. Hard to say what the lineups will look like on Saturday. But what we can say is two exciting days for Canadian tennis await.

 

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