It's a question of saving face for Spain
Who faces Raonic may not matter as Canada is on verge of victory
Vasek Pospisil and Daniel Nestor may have folded like an accordion in the fifth set Saturday, and caused a touch of disappointment on what has been an euphoric Canadian team here at Doug Mitchell arena, but in many ways they did their job superbly.
While they had a chance to finish off the Spaniards and gain Canada's first-ever World Group win with some missed break points early on in the fourth set up two sets to one, they still very much helped the team by taking the visitors five long sets and very near the four-hour mark.
It was a startling performance, particularly from Pospisil, who at times was as good or better than Nestor in stages of a match they very nearly won before running out of gas.
What they've achieved is forcing Spanish captain Alex Corretja to make a very difficult decision on who will face Canada's No. 1 player - and the man upon whom most of Canada's hopes still rest - Milos Raonic on Sunday morning.
It's officially slated to be Saturday's doubles winner Marcel Granollers, who was taken apart by Frank Dancevic in singles on Friday, but given the fact he played as poorly as he did and then had to go a full, gut-wrenching five sets Saturday, Corretja may decide to go with veteran Guillermo Garcia-Lopez instead.
Granollers looked almost laughable in his match against Dancevic, completely overwhelmed by a Canadian who played the match of his life, streaming winners from both sides as though he was the ultimate achievement in a tennis robot.
Garcia-Lopez has yet to play a match on this surface, but he's been practising on it all week and he could easily get the nod given the much higher ranked Gra-nollers looked Friday like he had not the slightest chance to threaten Raonic.
If fact on form, it shouldn't matter what Corretja decides, the Spanish should be toast. Any kind of solid performance from Raonic should be more than enough to overwhelm whomever is chosen on this surface, although the Canadian with perhaps the best serve in tennis did lose a set Friday, carrying as much pressure as he does in leading this team.
But no matter whom Corretja ends up going with, Pospisil and Nestor will have made a valuable contribution to the cause.
"Garcia-Lopez has been practising, because when you are on a team everyone has to be ready," said Corretja, dodging the question as everyone knew he would.
"Four hours of doubles is not the same as singles," said Granollers, trying not to tip the Spanish hand on who the team might select to play the match they must win to stay alive.
"And on Friday I only played two hours, so that wasn't very much. Milos is one of the best players in the world and on this surface ... better. But we will do our best."
Granollers doubtless would love the opportunity to erase what must look like an horrible embarrassment back in Spain, losing so badly to a player like Dancevic, who is so far up the track in the ATP ratings at 166.
Granted, facing the missiles launched by Raonic on this surface is not exactly a pleasant way to try to save some face, but neither is being gonged by the captain in favour of 29-year-old Garcia-Lopez, who is ranked 82nd in the world, well below Granollers' No. 34.
Canada's captain Martin Laurendeau isn't sure which way the Spanish are going and he's hoping Raonic is sufficiently up for the challenge that it won't make a particle of difference.
"He (Granollers) looked pretty fresh to me when he finished out there," said Laurendeau, referring to the Spanish doubles team looking so much better physically in the fifth and deciding set.
"We know Milos is going to be completely ready and anxious for us to take this next step and we expect him to play well.
"I don't know what they're going to do. I guess we'll find out at 10 o'clock tomorrow (Sunday) morning."
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