Milos Raonic leads Canada's Davis Cup quarter-final contingent
Frank Dancevic, Vasek Pospisil and Daniel Nestor to play
Canada is going with Davis Cup experience for its first ever World Group quarter-final tie.
World No. 16 Milos Raonic will lead Canada into the April 5-7 best-of-five series against Italy at the Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre in Vancouver.
He will be joined by Davis Cup veterans Frank Dancevic and Vasek Pospisil and doubles ace Daniel Nestor.
It's the same lineup that led Canada to a first-round win over Spain earlier this year.
A notable exception from the announced lineup is No. 97 Jesse Levine, Canada's only other player in the top 100 of the ATP rankings.
He will be joining the team in Vancouver as an alternate along with Filip Peliwo and Adil Shamasdin.
"We have the same group of guys already in Montreal working hard to get ready to play this team and we will continue the preparation in Vancouver next week leading up to the tie," team captain Martin Laurendeau said in a statement. "We are still on a high from making history in February and we want to ride that momentum, take advantage of this opportunity and keep this going into the semifinals."
Raonic, from Thornhill, Ont., is the highest-ranked Canadian men's singles player of all time. He has had a successful start to the season, winning his third straight SAP Open title at San Jose, Calif., and reaching the fourth round of the Australian Open. He won both his singles matches in the win over Spain.
Dancevic, from Niagara Falls, Ont., has competed for Canada's Davis Cup team every year since 2002, except when he was hampered with a back injury in 2008. He holds a 13-5 record in Davis Cup matches played on home soil. He upset Spain's Marcel Granollers 6-1, 6-2, 6-2 in the first-round tie.
Vancouver's Pospisil will be playing his eighth tie for Canada. He was a key contributor to Canada's return to the World Group in 2011, going 6-1 in the three ties he played.
Toronto's Nestor holds the Canadian Davis Cup records for most years played (21), most wins (44), most doubles wins (29), and most ties played (43). Nestor holds 80 ATP World Tour doubles titles, which is fourth on the all-time list, including a career Golden Slam (all four Grand Slam trophies and an Olympic Gold medal).
Italy will counter with world No. 19 Andreas Seppi, current No. 2 doubles team Simone Bolelli and Fabio Fognini as well as No. 59 Paolo Lorenzi. Fognini is also a highly-ranked singles player at No. 36.
"Any team that reaches the final eight in Davis Cup competition is going to be a very tough group of players and this is definitely true of Italy," said Laurendeau.
The winner of this tie will move on to the semifinals in September to face the winner of a tie between Serbia and the United States. Both nations have already qualified for World Group action in 2014 because of their first-round victories.