Cameron: Canada in new territory at Davis Cup

Milos Raonic leads Canada against world No.1 Novak Djokovic and Serbia in the semi-finals of the Davis Cup from Belgrade, Serbia. AP/CP

This weekend, 15,000 fans will file into the sold out Belgrade Arena (also referred to as Kombank Arena) to see Canada and Serbia battle it out in the Davis Cup semi-finals.

The winner will advance to November’s final where they’ll face either Argentina or the Czech Republic.

Watch Davis Cup semi-finals: Canada vs. Serbia on Friday, September 13, starting at 10 am ET, 7 am PT on Sportsnet East, West, Ontario and Pacific.Broadcast Schedule

The indoor clay will be a challenge for the Canadians, most notably, cushioning the blow from Milos Raonic’s massive serve.

And while it’s the Serbians with home-court advantage, the Canadians won’t exactly feel out of place, as each team member has a family connection to the region.

While Canada finds itself in new territory, Serbia is used to winning – they won the Davis Cup in 2010.

Get ready for a loud, exciting weekend.

Milos Raonic

Age: 22

Birthplace: Podgorica, Montenegro

Current ATP singles ranking: No. 11

ATP titles: Four (singles)

Davis Cup Experience: Four years

Raonic has had quite the summer. After reaching the final of the Rogers Cup in Montreal, he cracked the top 10 for the first time in his career. He then went on to reach the round-of-16 at the U.S. Open, only to fall in a marathon five-setter against Richard Gasquet of France. So does the young leader have enough left in his tank for the Davis Cup? Let’s hope so. But make note: in this semi-final, he’s the only player to have a 4-0 Davis Cup singles record this year.

Frank Dancevic

Age: 28

Birthplace: Niagra Falls, Ontario

Current ATP singles ranking: No. 135

ATP titles: Zero

Davis Cup Experience: 11 Years

Back in February, Frank Dancevic surprised everyone when he upset Spain’s Marcel Granollers in straight sets to help give Canada a 2-0 lead over the favoured Spaniards in their Davis Cup tie. Canada went on to win the tie. Sure, Dancevic isn’t Canada’s star player, or even their second best, but he’s proven that he can win on the big stage. If he can notch another top win, this time in the semi-finals against Serbia, Canada has a chance to win.

Vasek Pospisil
/Daniel Nestor

Age: Pospisil – 23, Nestor – 41

Birthplace: Pospisil – Vernon, British Columbia, Nestor – Belgrade, Yugoslavia

Current ATP ranking: Pospisil –No. 41 (singles), Nestor – No. 13 (doubles)

Davis Cup Experience: Pospisil – four years, Nestor – 21 years

Four-and-a-half-hours. That’s how long Daniel Nestor and Vasek Pospisil’s Davis Cup quarter-final doubles match lasted against Italy last spring. Oh, and the Canadians won. But that wasn’t the case when the two paired up just a couple weeks ago for the U.S. Open. In the third round at Flushing Meadows, the duo lost in three sets to the Bryan brothers, the No.1 doubles team in the world. While it was a disappointing outcome, the doubles pair is getting experience together, and hopefully that shows in Belgrade.

Novak Djokovic

Age: 26

Birthplace: Belgrade, Serbia

Current ATP singles ranking: No. 1

ATP titles: 37

Davis Cup Experience: Nine years

Novak Djokovic is pretty darn good. That about sums it up. But I’ll elaborate. Djokovic is the top player in the world, he’s the fittest player on tour, and he’s the greatest player Serbia has ever produced. Djokovic is fresh off of his U.S. Open final appearance (where he lost to Rafael Nadal), so while he may be tired, I doubt he’ll show it in Belgrade. Expect a fired up Djokovic playing in front of his home crowd. He’s 3-0 in Davis Cup play this year, and while he’s never faced Raonic, the indoor clay courts should soften the Canuck’s big serve.

Janko Tipsarevic

Age: 29

Birthplace: Belgrade, Serbia

ATP singles ranking: No. 23

ATP titles: Four

Davis Cup Experience: 13 years

Don’t let his ranking fool you. Janko Tipsarevic is a top-10 calibre player. He’s gritty, hard hitting, flexible and a fun player to watch. If you’re looking for personality, Tipsarevic has it. He’s funny, quirky, intense, and he’s worth following on Twitter (@TipsarevicJanko). Tipsarevic has played Raonic three times, and Raonic has won all three matches, most recently in the second round of Cincinnati. Serbia needs Tipsarevic to play well if they want to beat Canada. If Tipsarevic doesn’t play well, it might be enough to give Canada a ticket to the final.

Nenad Zimonjic/Dusan Lajovic

Age: Zimonjic – 37, Lajovic – 23

Birthplace: Belgrade, Serbia – Zimonjic and Lajovic

ATP Ranking: Zimonjic – No. 12 (doubles), Lajovic – No. 142 (singles)

Davis Cup Experience: 18 years – Zimonjic, one year – Lajovic

Don’t know who Dusan Lajovic is? Don’t feel bad. He’s only played one Davis Cup match before, and it was a dead rubber against Sweden. Don’t know who Nenad Zimonjic is? You should feel bad – kidding. But you may recognize him, he’s Daniel Nestor’s former doubles partner. They won three Grand Slam titles together. This doubles pairing looks a lot like Canada’s – a rookie and a veteran.

*Viktor Troicki will not compete for Serbia. He is serving an 18-month doping ban.

Draw list for the Davis Cup semifinals between Serbia and Canada

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