|Jo-Wilfried Tsonga returns a shot to Frank Dancevic during their Davis Cup match in Vancouver, B.C., Feb. 12, 2012. (BEN NELMS/Reuters)
VANCOUVER - It could have been one of the greatest days in Canadian tennis history. Instead, it fell flat before play even got started.
Canadian star Milos Raonic pulled out of the Davis Cup in Vancouver with knee problems hours before he was to take the court against world No. 6 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. Frank Dancevic was handed the near impossible task of taking on the French star without much practice.
Despite putting on an entertaining show, the Niagara Falls, Ont., native fell 6-4, 6-4, 6-1 at the hands of Tsonga.
"I was happy with my performance, I had nothing to lose, I was the underdog going in," said Dancevic. "The crowd got me very into it, he just played the big points well."
The defeat and Raonic’s injury brought an exciting Davis Cup tie to a disappointing close.
Rowdy throughout the weekend, the fans were silenced Sunday with the news Raonic was injured. The 21-year-old rising star stole headlines Friday night with a straight-sets win over Julien Benneteau.
On Saturday, Canada’s top player was a late addition as Daniel Nestor’s doubles partner, struggling in a 7-6 (1), 7-6 (2), 6-3 loss.
Then Sunday, the announcement of his injury took the thunder out of UBC’s Thunderbird Arena.
"After our doubles match yesterday I consulted with my team and a team of doctors regarding some pain in my knee,” said Raonic in a release issued by Tennis Canada. “After extensive discussions, the doctors determined it is not in my best interest to play today.”
The loss brings Canada’s Davis Cup run to an end. Vancouver resident Vasek Pospisil lost in a meaningless fifth match 6-4, 6-4 against Gael Monfils to end the series. France’s 4-1 victory has earned them a spot against the US in the World Group quarterfinal.