Israel, Canada set to square off for spot in World Group

After one-year absence, Israel has golden opportunity to return to Davis Cup World Group this weekend when it hosts Canada at Ramat Hasharon.

any ram and yoni erlich 311 (photo credit: Asaf Kliger)
any ram and yoni erlich 311
(photo credit: Asaf Kliger)
After a one-year absence, Israel has a golden opportunity to return to the Davis Cup World Group this weekend when it hosts Canada at Ramat Hasharon.
Defeats to Chile and Austria last year saw the national team relegated to Europe/Africa Zone Group I, but an impressive victory over Poland in March ensured it would have a chance to regain its place among the world’s top 16 nations.
Andy Ram knows that the blue-and-white could not have realistically hoped for a better draw than Canada at home.
“We need to beat this Canadian team,” said Ram, who will once again team up with Yoni Erlich for Saturday’s doubles match against world number 5 Daniel Nestor and Vasek Pospisil.
“We have won our last eight Davis Cup doubles matches in Israel and we really look forward to these ties. We have played some of our best tennis in the Davis Cup in recent years and I hope we can do that again.”
Dudi Sela, ranked No. 96 in the world, faces Pospisil (124) in the opening rubber on Friday before Amir Weintraub (182) comes up against Milos Raonic (31).
Sela was drawn to face Raonic in the first match of the reverse singles on Sunday, with Weintraub to play Pospisil in a potentially decisive fifth rubber.
Raonic will be playing his first match in almost three months after undergoing hip surgery following an injury he suffered in the second round of Wimbledon.
“It’s going to be tough, but mainly from a mental standpoint rather than a physical one,” said the 20-year-old, who broke into the world’s top 200 last October, but is considered to be one of the ATP Tour’s rising stars, having reached the last 16 at the Australian Open in January before winning his first ATP title in San Jose.
“I’ve been fully healthy for four weeks, but I decided to skip the US Open to make sure I’m totally ready for the Davis Cup.”
Weintraub, who won his Davis Cup debut against Poland, feels that facing Raonic in his first match back from injury could help even the playing field.
“This is the best time to play Raonic,” said Weintraub, who reached a career-best ranking of No. 182 earlier this week after reaching the final of the Challenger tournament in Bangkok.
“He hasn’t played for a while and I’m in good form.”
While Israel is looking to reach the World Group for the fourth time in five years, Canada will be hoping to book its place among the top 16 for the first time since 2004.

Canada captain Martin Laurendeau believes this is the opportunity his team has been waiting for.
“We were happy to draw Israel in the playoffs,” Laurendeau said.
“I like our chances. We have done everything we can to be ready. We are also playing in the Canada Stadium so everything seems to be in place for us.”