|Milos Raonic, representing Canada, faced South Africa's Izak Van der Merwe at the Davis Cup on Sunday, September 16, 2012 at Uniprix Stadium in Montreal. (CHARLES WILLIAM PELLETIER/QMI Agency)
Canada will stay in the Davis Cup World Group after all.
Canadian star Milos Raonic clinched the World Group playoff win over under-staffed South Africa Sunday at Uniprix Stadium in Montreal then Frank Dancevic put the icing on the cake, giving Canada a 4-1 win.
Raonic, ranked 15th in the world, rolled over No. 188 Izak Van Der Merwe 6-2, 6-2, 6-4 in the first reverse singles rubber to prevent South Africa from pulling off the upset. Dancevic got into the celebration with a 6-2, 6-2 win over collegain Nikala Scholtz to round out the event.
"I am proud to be part of this new era of Canadian tennis," Raonic said. "It's great to be back in the World Group, (and) there's a lot of time between now and February for us all to improve so that we can improve our chances of advancing further in the World Group in 2013."
South Africa went into the tie without its top-ranked player, No. 37 Kevin Anderson, and Rik de Voest was replaced by captain John-Laffnie de Jager after injuring his wrist. But Canada didn't take the South Africans lightly and only match it lost was the doubles, when Raven Klaasen and Van der Merwe knocked off top-ranked Daniel Nestor and Vasek Pospisil.
"To qualify for the World Group for two straight years shows that we can consistently perform at a high level," Team Canada captain Martin Laurendeau said. "It was a great team effort this week starting with the way we practiced, the way we prepared for the tie, and the way we executed and played the matches."
By knocking off South Africa, Canada will stay in the World Group, tennis's elite 16 nations.
The draw to determine Canada's opponent and venue will be held Wednesday in London. The first World Group tie will be played Feb. 1-3, 2013.