Canada’s Milos Raonic returned to Davis Cup action for the first time in five years to give the reigning champions a fast start in their Final Eight clash against Finland yesterday.
The big-serving Raonic banged down 18 aces in a 6-3 7-5 defeat of lowly-ranked Finn Patrick Kaukovalta to put Canada 1-0 ahead in the best of three tie.
But in the day’s second match, Canada’s Gabriel Diallo lost to Otto Virtanen in straight sets. Virtanen won 6-4, 7-5.
Raonic began the match with a game of aces and ended it with another one after little more than an hour.
Both teams were hit by injuries with Canada’s top-ranked player Felix Auger-Aliassime unable to take to 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 had too much firepower for 782nd-ranked Kaukovalta who put up a good fight in his first ever Davis Cup singles rubber.
Canada are looking to retain the title they won against Australia last year in Malaga and also make it a sweep for the country after the women won the Billie Jean King Cup.
Djokovic arrives in Malaga
Fresh from a record seventh ATP Finals title, Novak Djokovic arrived In Malaga on Monday ahead of Serbia’s quarter-final tie against Great Britain tomorrow.
Entering a record-extending 400th week as world No.1, Djokovic joins his teammates, including Laslo Djere and Dusan Lajovic, to prepare for what is shaping up to be a thrilling showdown between the Serbians and Leon Smith’s Great Britain, led by world No.18 Cameron Norrie.
The tie is scheduled for the afternoon tomorrow (not before 16:00 CET) and is the last of the four quarter-finals in the 2023 Davis Cup Final 8.
Meanwhile 2023 Davis Cup Finals Tournament Director Feliciano Lopez brought tennis to the streets of Malaga with a festival for all ages and abilities ahead of the competition’s first clash yesterday.
Supported by Malaga Mayor Francisco de la Torre, Lopez added to the buzz around the city of Malaga thanks to the start of the Final 8 at the Martin Carpena arena yesterday.
Those in attendance at the mini tennis festival took part in activities designed for the very youngest to the very oldest. Activities included roulette wheels to win exclusive prizes and aiming games as well as mini tennis courts.
The ITF remains committed to promoting tennis and bringing the sport closer to everyone. Events like the one held in Malaga show that tennis can be enjoyed by everyone, contributing to more active and healthy communities. The 2023 Davis Cup Finals got underway yesterday with a clash between defending champions Canada against Finland.
Canada’s Milos Raonic in action during his Davis Cup quarter-final match against Finland’s Patrick Kaukovalta at Palacio de deportes Martin Carpena, Malaga, Spain, yesterday. (Reuters)