After Milos Raonic’s opening match win during Canada’s tussle with Spain in the opening round of the Davis Cup World Group, I thought ‘ok, that’s a relief’. Milos seemed too loose in the opening set and that is why he lost it to his much lower ranked opponent. In the end, it was a routine victory and a much needed opening round statement.
The consensus is that Milos should win his two matches; Spain should win the doubles; and if Canada is to walk away with an upset win, the number 2 player has to win one of the other two matches. I don’t believe for a second that a victory for Canada is a shoo-in just because Spain’s top tier is missing in action (Nadal, Ferrer, Almagro, Verdasco and Lopez). A victory for Canada would still be considered not only an upset but a monumental accomplishment. Canada is on the verge of entering uncharted waters – a quarterfinal berth. Spain, despite the lower ranked players, carries a never-say-die attitude. In Davis Cup, anything can happen. On Friday, it did.
The astonishing performance put together by Frank Dancevic was a career highlight. From point #1 to the last, he delivered bombs and torpedoed the Spanish game plan. The intensity and dogged determination shown by Frank was something that only rarely surfaces in pro-tennis. It was a complete performance. Even the sound of his racquet showed how clean, crisp and on-point he was throughout the entire match. The only other time I can recall a player so completely in the zone was Lukas Rozol’s demolition of Nadal at Wimbledon 2012 – this time however, there was no lack of respect or pretentious showboating. It was a brilliant, out of body performance that put Spain in deep hole.
It was a performance I’ve always wanted to see from Frank. He has so much talent. I really thought after his career-high pro tour performances in 2007 that he’d make his way into the top 20. However, two very serious back injuries since then have been his downfall. He’s also been something of a chameleon – intensely focused and professional at one point and disinterested and lacking focus the next. He’s also let a lot of matches that were almost under his belt get away from him and I’m sure that does nothing for his confidence.
My hope is that this match will be the turning point for him. He’s 28 and at the back end of his career. I see no reason why (healthy) he should not get back deep into the top 100. It would be a rewarding moment for a player of Frank’s caliber. He needs to focus and make it happen – just like he did Friday in Vancouver.
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