Canada's hopes of advancing at the Fed Cup took a serious blow Thursday with a 3-0 defeat to Argentina.
Aleksandra Wozniak of Blainville, Que., opened with a hard-fought 7-5, 6-4 loss to 19-year-old Paula Ormaechea.
Canada needed a win from Stephanie Dubois in the second singles match of the day to stay alive, but the Laval, Que., native fell 6-2, 6-2 to Florencia Molinero as Argentina clinched the tie.
"(Wozniak) had three chances where she was up 15-40 in three different games and was not able to win those games and that really helped the Argentine win that first set," Canadian captain Sylvain Bruneau said on a conference call. "It gave (Ormaechea) so much energy and she stormed off in the second set and played really well."
Mailen Auroux and Maria Irigoyen then defeated Toronto's Sharon Fichman and Marie-Eve Pelletier of Repentigny, Que., 6-0, 6-3 in doubles to complete the sweep.
Canada will face the Bahamas on Friday in their final round robin tie. In order for the Canadians to have a chance to finish first in their group and play for a spot in the World Group II playoffs in April, they must beat the Bahamas and hope Peru defeats Argentina.
Canada defeated the Peruvians 2-1 on Wednesday and Bruneau said he would be "surprised" if they pulled off an upset on Friday.
Dubois said the Canadians will look to finish strong even if the chances of the team advancing are slim.
"We are all disappointed because we aimed higher," she said. "We're going to go back on Friday and we'll fight and we'll give the best and keep our confidence up."
If Canada fails to advance, it will remain in the Americas Zone Group I for 2013 and not play any additional Fed Cup ties during the 2012 season.
"We came here to finish first but we knew the work was not going to be easy," Bruneau added. "We never thought this was going to be a done deal."