Canada's Davis Cup dream starts with Vasek Pospisil

Serbia's Novak Djokovic (left) and Canada's Vasek Pospisil shake hands after the draw for the Davis...

Serbia's Novak Djokovic (left) and Canada's Vasek Pospisil shake hands after the draw for the Davis Cup semifinals in Belgrade September 12, 2013. (REUTERS/Marko Djurica)

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:36 AM ET

If Canada is going to pull off a monumental upset of Serbia in the Davis Cup semifinals, it will start with Vasek Pospisil, not Milos Raonic.

It was announced Thursday at the official draw that Vancouver’s Pospisil, ranked 41st in the world, will open the historic three-day tie Friday against top-ranked Novak Djokovic, the U.S. Open finalist, on a temporary indoor clay court at Belgrade Arena.

“I am tired and jet-lagged but also as inspired and motivated as ever to play for my country,” Djokovic said. “It’s not the first time I’ve had only two days to recuperate for a Davis Cup tie after the U.S. Open and the fact that we will be playing at home for the first time in two years will galvanise us to perform.

It’s a tall order for Pospisil to beat Djokovic, to say nothing of seventh-ranked Canada knocking off third-ranked Serbia, but few expected this matchup in the semifinals. Canada upset Spain and Italy en route to the semis but both those ties were on home soil.

“We know we face a very tough opponent in the Serbians but our team has gained a lot of confidence from the experiences we’ve had this year and we really believe in ourselves,” Canadian captain Martin Laurendeau said. “I think we surprised a lot of people this year in the making the final four at Davis Cup, but we are here and we have earned our place here and we are going to be ready to compete here to get one step further.”

The Pospisil-Djokovic opener means a much-anticipated matchup between 11th-ranked Raonic, Canada’s top singles player, and the world No. 1 must wait until Sunday. It could also prove to be meaningless, depending on what happens in the first two days of the tie.

Raonic, instead, will take on world No. 23 Janko Tipsarevic in his first match, Friday’s second singles rubber. The 22-year-old from Thornhill, Ont., is 4-0 in Davis Cup play this year and 10-3 in singles during his career.

Pospisil and Daniel Nestor of Toronto will play Ilija Bozoljac, a late replacement for Dusan Lajovic, and Nenad Zimonjic in the doubles rubber on Saturday. Zimonjic and Nestor were doubles partners on the ATP Tour before going their separate ways at the end of the 2010 season.

After the Raonic-Djokovic match on Sunday, Pospisil will close things out against Tipsarevic.

Nestor and Frank Dancevic of Niagara Falls, the fifth member of the Canadian team, both have Serbian roots. Nestor was born in Belgrade but doesn’t expect the Serbian fans to give him any breaks.

“Will they take it easy on me? Maybe they will early on but if Serbia find themselves on the receiving end they will do what they have to in order to help the home team win,” he said.

The Canada-Serbia semifinal winner will face either the Czech Republic or Argentina in the Davis Cup final in November.


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