Italy not looking ahead of Canada in Davis Cup tie

Editors' Picks

Vancouver, April 3 (IANS) A relaxed yet confident Italian team is seeking to advance to its first Davis Cup semi-final since 1998 but it isn't looking past upstart Canada, which it will meet in a quarter-final tie starting Friday in the British Columbia city.

"Canada is a very good team. (Milos) Raonic is an improved player. I think that he can always play better so he is really good. So I think it is normal that they have made the quarterfinal," Italian captain Corrado Barazzuti told the media Tuesday at the University of British Columbia campus.

"It's true that they played against Spain without maybe their best player, but Canada is still a really good team."

The 60-year-old Barazzuti knows what it takes to win as he played on the 1976 Italian team that won the country's only Davis Cup when it beat Chile. Over the years Italy, currently ranked ninth in the world, has lost six Davis Cup finals, but this year it goes into the quarter-finals with a strong team that got by Croatia 3-2 in early February, reports Xinhua.

The Italian arsenal includes world No.20 singles player Andreas Seppi, Fabio Fognini (33), Paolo Lorenzi (40), Simone Bolelli (86) and Daniele Bracciali, currently ranked 25th in doubles.

Seppi, who won twice on the ATP Tour in 2012 and got to the fourth round of this year's Australian Open, felt he was at the top of his game. Both his victories in Germany and Italy came on hard courts, the same surface at the UBC Thunderbird Sports Center.

"For sure, I have a little bit more experience than before. I played a lot of tough matches, feeling better on the court, and changed a little bit of my preparation also," said the 29-year-old Seppi who went 1-1 in the Croatia tie.

"So I think maybe these are the two important things, a little bit more experience, moving better on the court."

Experience is what it's all about for No.8 ranked Canada as the team is in the quarterfinals for the first time after advancing following a 3-2 upset of No.1 ranked Spain, a team that was missing superstar Rafael Nadal and world No.4 David Ferrer.

Canada captain Martin Laurendeau will field the same team that beat the Spaniards in world No.15 singles player Raonic, 40-year-old doubles specialist Daniel Nestor, Frank Dancevic and Vasek Pospil.

"They're fairly comparable lineups. They have a player in the top 20, they have a really good doubles team and they have good depth. Obviously they can play on hard courts, they've shown that before," said Laurendeau, noting his team had come through many difficult situations to get to this position.

Canada will rely heavily on Raonic, the top-ranked player in the field who pulled out of last week's Sony Open in Miami citing strep throat.

The big-serving 196-cm Ontario native is 3-0 on the medium-fast surface at UBC dating back to last year's Davis Cup tie when France beat Canada. This year, Raonic won his third straight title in San Jose and made it to the fourth round of the Australian Open before getting knocked out by Roger Federer.

"Everything is going well. I've had an opportunity in some tournaments. I've played well in some tournaments. I think I'm just getting better. I enjoy playing under these circumstances with the environment as well as it being a Davis Cup tie so I look forward to it," Raonic said.

Most Popular Stories

  • Small tsunami generated in Pacific after earthquake

    Associated Press

    SYDNEY (AP) — A powerful earthquake rattled the South Pacific nation of Papua New Guinea on Monday, generating a small tsunami and frightening locals near the epicenter, but prompting no reports of damage or injuries. …

  • President Mukherjee presents Bharat Ratna and Padma Awards


    New Delhi, Mar. 30 (ANI): President Pranab Mukherjee on Monday presented the Bharat Ratna and Padma Awards. …

  • Baby girl born with 'trunk' labelled as 'Ganesha' in Aligarh


    Aligarh (Uttar Pradesh), Mar. 29 (ANI): A baby girl born with a 'trunk' has become the center of attraction in a village in Aligarh, Uttar Pradesh, as people are flocking to see her believing that she is an incarnation of Lord Ganesha. Born on Thursday, the child has a protuberance between her two eyes which people believe resembles the trunk of Lord Ganesha. "My sister-in-law gave birth to a girl at 7:00 a.m. and her face looks exactly like Lord Ganesha. "I believe this baby is an …

  • Cricket: Clarke dedicates World Cup to tragic Hughes

    Cricket: Clarke dedicates World Cup to tragic Hughes

    Cricket: Clarke dedicates World Cup to tragic Hughes

    Melbourne, March 29, 2015 (AFP) - Australia captain Michael Clarke dedicated Sunday's World Cup final triumph to Phillip Hughes, the team-mate who died after being hit on the head by a bouncer last year. …

  • Cricket: McCullum has no regrets as World Cup dream ends in defeat

    Cricket: McCullum has no regrets as World Cup dream ends in defeat

    Cricket: McCullum has no regrets as World Cup dream ends in defeat

    Melbourne, March 29, 2015 (AFP) - New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum said he had no regrets after "one hell of a ride" at the World Cup came to an end with a seven-wicket defeat by Australia in Sunday's final in Melbourne. …