Raonic’s win over Seppi gives Canada 3-1 victory over Italy

Vancouver, April 7, 2013 – The Miele Canadian Davis Cup team has defeated Italy 3-1 after the third day of play in their Davis Cup by BNP Paribas World Group quarter-final tie taking place at the Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. Entering the day, Canada was up 2-1 thanks to one singles victory and a win in doubles, and Milos Raonic (Thornhill, Ont.) was able to clinch Canada’s first-ever semifinal berth as he defeated Andreas Seppi 6-4, 6-4, 3-6, 7-5.

In the battle of the two nations’ No. 1 players, world No. 16 Raonic came out on top over No. 18 Seppi, serving 35 aces and winning 87 per cent of his first serve points. He broke in the very first game of the match and saved the only break point he faced through the first two sets (losing just eight points on serve) as he clinched a 2-0 lead in 68 minutes.

Seppi turned the match into a hard-fought battle in the third set though, as the Italian opened up a 3-0 lead and held on to push it into a fourth set. Seppi then had another early opportunity to break Raonic, earning one break chance in the third game, but the 22-year-old Canuck persevered. The final break needed to reach the semifinals was captured at the 6-5 mark, and Raonic captured it on his second match point. In total, Raonic went three for 10 on break points, while saving two of three that he faced.

“I think Seppi had to play really well, I didn’t make too many mistakes,” said Raonic. “Of three of his five service games in the third, I had break chances on three of them, so it’s not like I got completely outplayed in that third set. I felt like I had opportunities, he just converted better than I did. He had break chances on way fewer games, so that’s just what it came down to. It’s unfortunate that set got away from me, but I just kept plugging away.”

Raonic also captured Canada’s first point of the tie, as he won the second match on Friday over Fabio Fognini 6-4, 7-6(4), 7-5. The doubles duo of Daniel Nestor (Toronto) and Vasek Pospisil (Vancouver) then put their country up 2-1 on Saturday thanks to an incredible four hour and 27 minute 6-3, 6-4, 3-6, 3-6, 15-13 triumph. Because Raonic’s match on Sunday went four sets, the fifth rubber was not played.

“I’ve been trying to pinch myself since match point,” said Miele Canadian Davis Cup team captain Martin Laurendeau. “I can’t even remember match point, the ball went into the net and then I blacked out. Three years ago, Milos saved match points against a guy from Dominican Republic in Toronto, and now we’re in the final four. There are a lot of countries in this competition that are hungry, and we’re down to four so it’s a great honour.”

Canada, who was playing in the Davis Cup quarter-finals for the first time in its history following a 3-2 first-round victory over No. 1-ranked Spain in February, now advances into its maiden semifinal. Prior to this year, Canada had lost in four other World Group opening ties (1991, 1992, 2004, and 2012). Canada will now take on 2010 Davis Cup champion Serbia in the semifinals. The Serbians defeated the United States 3-1 this weekend in Boise, Idaho, where world No. 1 Novak Djokovic secured the tie with a win over Sam Querrey in the fourth rubber. The tie will take place September 13-15 in Serbia, at a location to be announced within approximately three weeks.

“I’m so proud of these guys because being on the road is so difficult so when you do play at home, you’ve got to win,” said Laurendeau. “We won and basically all the guys won a point, and we have Pospisil and Raonic who are 22 years old and you look at the average age of the Top 100 and it’s probably pushing 27 or 28. So there are a lot of good years ahead. It’s been a long road, but what we’re going through right now is great, I’m really proud of the guys for being able to perform under pressure and grab their opportunities when they’re in front of them.”

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