Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Tennis lightweight Canada topples mighty Spain in Davis Cup play

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VANCOUVER -- They came, they saw, but they couldn't conquer.

With five championships -- all of them since 2000 -- the powerful Spanish Davis Cup team isn't accustomed to losing anywhere -- home or away.

But this past weekend the Spaniards -- still rated the No. 1 Davis Cup team despite losing last year's final to the Czech Republic -- ran into a perfect storm of adversity and were upset 3-2 by 12th-ranked Canada in first-round 2013 World Group play at University of British Columbia.

The question Spanish tennis fans are probably asking now is whether the shocking defeat is nothing more than a one-off fluke or whether it's the harbinger of a long-term slide in the world rankings.

The normally-dominant Spaniards were missing their top four singles players -- Rafael Nadal, David Ferrer, Nicolas Almagro and Fernando Verdasco -- to a combination of injury (Nadal and Almagro) and fatigue (Ferrer and Verdasco).

Nadal, whose ranking has slipped to No. 5 during his absence due to sickness and knee problems, is scheduled to return to tournament play this week in Chile.

On Sunday Canada's No. 1 Milos Raonic, the world No. 15, quickly disposed of No. 82Guillermo Garcia-Lopez in straight sets 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 to clinch the series victory.

-- The Canadian Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 4, 2013 C4

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