Dancevic comported himself well in a much closer contest than many probably expected between the No. 6-ranked Tsonga and the world No. 178, though Tsonga still claimed 105 points to his opponent’s 76. Dancevic stepped in to replace the originally scheduled Milos Raonic (Thornhill, Ontario) who was forced to sit out the match due to a minor knee injury.
The first game of the match featured several deuces, as the two players felt each other out before Tsonga took over, seizing a commanding 4-0 lead before Dancevic captured his first game to make it 4-1. Feeding off the supportive and raucous home crowd, the Canadian then reeled off two more to find himself back in it. He was unable to get back the second break though, falling 6-4.
“For me I felt like I had nothing to lose,” Dancevic said. “I basically just had to go for my shots and that’s it. I didn’t really feel much pressure, I felt like I just had to let loose, and when I had an opportunity just go for my shots. Going in with that mentality just really brought me up a little bit.”
In the second set, it was an even affair until the 4-4 mark when Tsonga broke and served out the set, displaying brilliant net skills and strong serving. One of Dancevic’s weaknesses was his inability to get first serves in the court, acquiring a 56 first serve percentage and five double faults. By the third set, it appeared the 27-year-old began running out of steam opposite his much higher-ranked opponent. Tsonga overwhelmed Dancevic, breaking at 1-1, 3-1 and again at 5-1 to win the
match and the tie for France.
“I thought (Dancevic) played good, he went after Tsonga with everything he had,” said Martin Laurendeau, Canada’s team captain. “Basically he’s played only three matches this year, so it was a tough assignment to take on, the world No. 6, who was playing well this weekend, but he played to win. He had a slow start, but once he got over those few games, he got back in the match, and it was pretty level there for quite awhile.”
In the dead rubber, Pospisil took on Monfils, falling in straight sets to make it a 4-1 final score in favour of France. The 2010 Davis Cup finalists will now play the United States at home in the quarter-finals April 6-8.
Canada will now have to play a World Group play-off in September, where it will try to retain its position in the elite 16-team category. Canada has only been in the World Group four times in its history, and should it maintain its spot for 2013, it would mark the country’s first consecutive years in the World Group since 1991 and 1992. Canada will not know its opponent or location of the tie until a draw is completed on April 11.
The overall attendance at the Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre through the three days of the tie was 15,233.