|Canada's Vasek Pospisil reacts as he wins a point to win his Davis Cup World Group Play-off tennis match against Israel's Amir Weintraub. (REUTERS/Nir Elias)
Move over Milos Raonic, you've got some company.
With world No. 31 Raonic still hobbled, Vasek Pospisil solidified his status as this country's next up-and-coming tennis star by almost single-handedly propelling Canada into the Davis Cup World Group Sunday in Ramat Hasharon, Israel.
The 21-year-old Vancouver phenom won all three of his matches in Canada's Davis Cup playoff tie with Israel, including a clinching 6-2, 7-6 (3), 6-4 win over Amir Weintraub that gave Canada a 3-2 win and a berth in the prestigious World Group for the first time since 2004.
"It's an amazing feeling," Pospisil said during a conference call with Canadian media Sunday. "It's obviously a very emotional day today and we're all really, really excited about this. This last match I obviously didn't feel great before it, was pretty sore and didn't have much left in the tank.
"A lot of it was adrenalin, and I was able to get the win. I'm pretty dead right now but I had enough left to go five (sets). This is the greatest moment of my career so far. It feels great."
Pospisil took on a larger role in Israel when Raonic, Canada's top-ranked singles player at 31 in the world, was forced to withdraw after losing his opening match to Weintraub on Friday. Raonic, who was playing his first match after having hip surgery in July, got food poisoning that left him weakened and unable to continue.
"You never want to learn your No. 1 player is unable to play," Pospisil said. "Of course, I was hoping Peter (Polansky) was going to win. Peter was a bit rusty. When it came down to me, I was ready to go. I was ready to fight to the last point."
Polansky, a 23-year-old from Thornhill, Ont., was tabbed as Raonic's replacement Sunday but he was no match for Dudi Sela, who posted a 6-3, 6-3, 6-3 win to even the tie at 2-2. That left Canada's fate in the hands of Pospisil, who needed five sets to beat Sela in his opener then teamed up with Daniel Nestor to get past Jonathan Erlich and Andy Ram in doubles.
No problem. Instead of Polansky clinching it, a gutsy Pospisil for it done for the Canucks.
"It's quite something, really, a historic moment for us as a team," Canadian captain Martin Laurendeau said. "Definitely for Vasek, he'll never forget this weekend. For him to win three matches on his own like that when he's barely 21... was very tough under very pressured situations. Just incredible. I hope this run continues for him. He's certainly unstoppable at the moment."
Canada's road to the World Group, the top 16 tennis-playing nations, required earlier wins in Mexico and Ecuador. The draw to find out who Canada plays and where -- the first-round ties go Feb. 10-12 -- will be held Wednesday in Bangkok.
"There's no preference," Laurendeau said when asked which country he'd like to face. "We're fresh off this win. We haven't gotten a good (look) at what the possibilities are. We're still enjoying the moment."