MALAGA – Canada’s Milos Raonic returned to Davis Cup action for the first time in five years and gave the defending champions a hot start in their last eight match against Finland on Tuesday.
Raonic, who served big, defeated lower-ranked Finn Patrick Kaukovalta 6-3, 7-5 and scored 18 aces to give Canada a 1-0 lead in the best-of-three match.
Raonic started the match with an ace and finished it with another ace a little over an hour later.
Both teams were hit by injuries with Canada’s top-ranked player Felix Auger-Aliassime unable to take the court, while Finland’s number one Emil Ruusuvuori was also ruled out.
Former world number three and Wimbledon runner-up Raonic has played only a handful of matches this year, but he had too much firepower for the 782nd-ranked Caucovalta, who put up a good fight in his first Davis Cup singles rubber.
If Gabriel Diallo defeats Otto Virtanen in the second singles match, he will send Canada to the semi-finals.
Canada is looking to retain the title it won against Australia in Malaga last year and also keep the country flying after the women won the Billie Jean King Cup. reuters