Raonic leads Canada into Davis Cup tie against South Africa

Milos Raonic hits a return to Andy Murray during their men's singles match at the U.S. Open in New...

Milos Raonic hits a return to Andy Murray during their men's singles match at the U.S. Open in New York, N.Y., Sept. 3, 2012. (ADAM HUNGER/Reuters)

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 3:20 AM ET

Canada will be the clear-cup favourite against South Africa when the two countries meet to stay in the Davis Cup's elite World Group next week in Montrea.

With Milos Raonic (ranked 16th in singles) and Daniel Nestor (No. 1 in doubles), along with Frank Dancevic and Vasek Pospisil, trying to prevent Canada from dropping down to zone play in next year's Davis Cup, it should be a cinch.

But Canadian captain Martin Laurendeau says his quartet won't be thinking that way when the World Group playoff tie gets under way Sept. 14 at Uniprix Stadium.

"We're taking this very seriously," Laurendeau said on a conference call Monday. "Our focus has been on winning this tie and retaining our spot in the World Group. We don't want to drop back into Group I. That would set our program back a couple of years if we were back in the Americas Zone and faced the prospect of having to play on clay against some nations that can be pretty nasty on that surface."

South Africa will counter with four players ranked outside the top 170 in the world -- Izak Van Der Merwe (190), Rik De Voest (170), Raven Klaasen (544) and Nikala Scholtz (unranked).

This will be Canada's second chance at staying in the World Group. France posted a 4-1 win over Canada in Vancouver earlier this year.

South Africa won the right to host the tie but begged off, giving Canada the chance to choose the location and court surface.


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