Amir Weintraub of Israel spoiled Milos Raonic's return to tennis by defeating the Canadian 5-7, 7-5, 6-3, 6-1 on Friday at the World Group playoff Davis Cup series.
Canada finished the first day of the weekend series 1-1 after Vancouver's Vasek Pospisil won a gruelling 7-6 (4), 6-7 (6), 6-1, 6-7 (2), 6-3 match against Dudi Sela in the opener.
Raonic, a native Thornhill, Ont., was playing his first competitive match since injuring himself at Wimbledon, and has been battling food poisoning in Israel.
The hard-serving Raonic looked strong early as he blazed two aces to win his first service game. He broke to go up 6-5 and serve out the set on a double set point with a sizzling forehand winner.
Weintraub, ranked 182nd, played agressively in the second set, attacking the net and breaking a sluggish-looking Raonic for a 3-1 lead when the Canadian netted his return.
Weintraub served to a 4-2 lead, but Raonic broke back with a bullet down the fault line, then served out a game to even the set. However, the Israeli held serve and broke Raonic on double set point to tie 1-1.
Raonic looked listless in the third set and was broken by Weintraub to fall beind 5-3. Weintraub easily won the second set capped by an emphatic ace.
Raonic clutched his racket and yelled in frustration just before Weintraub smashed a winner to break for a 2-1 lead in the fourth set, then served out to make it 3-1.
Another break put Weintraub up 4-1 and he breezed through two more games to close out the match against Raonic.
In the first singles game, Pospisil prospered after a five-hour marathon, mostly under the sun, at Canada Stadium in the suburb of Tel Aviv.
Pospisil is ranked No. 124 in the world compared to No. 96 for Sela, the top-ranked player in Israel.
The 21-year-old from Vancouver was up 6-1 in the first-set tieberaker but Sela fought back before double-faulting.
The Israeli jumped into a 3-0 lead in the second, but Pospisil fought back.
Both players had problems with calls in the second set, with Sela throwing his racquet to the ground and then going over to the umpire, climbing up the first few steps of the ladder to the raised chair to complain.
Pospisil would finish the match with 100 unforced errors compared to Sela's 85.
Sela survived two set points to win a second-set tiebreaker 8-6 and clawed back in the third from two games down to make it 4-4 after Pospisil double faulted on a double break point.
After Sela held serve to pull ahead 6-5, Pospisil forced a tiebreaker but fell back 6-0 before eventually losing and allowing Sela to even the match at two sets apiece.
Pospisil went up 4-2 in the final set as Sela hit a forehand long on a double break point.
With both players looking fatigued, Pospisil hit a blistering forehand to a win 40-15 point and pull within a game of winning the match.
Pospisil dropped to his knees after Sela hit the double match point long.
The second match of the day pitted Canadian ace Milos Raonic against Amir Weintraub, ranked 182nd.
Raonic, a native of Thornhill, Ont., ranked 31st in the world, has been sidelined since injuring himself at Wimbledon and has been battling food poisoning in Israel.
A win over Israel moves Canada into the elite 16-country World Group for 2012. The loser will remain in its zonal group for next year's competition.
Pospisil is scheduled to team with Toronto veteran Daniel Nestor against Jonathan Erlich and Andy Ram in Saturday's double match.
The tie concludes Sunday with Raonic versus Sela and Pospisil versus Weintraub.