Re: SIMON LAROSE
Davis Cup: Canada loses to Romania
BUCHAREST (CP-AP) - The Canadian men's tennis team was unable to extend its stay in the prestigious World Group of Davis Cup after losing two singles matches to Romania on Sunday.
Canada fell 4-1 to the Romanians in the best-of-five World Group playoff and will drop down to play in Americas Zone Group 1 qualifying for 2005.
Canada reached the World Group this year for the first time since 1992 after beating Brazil in a qualifier in September 2003 in Calgary.
The Canadians lost to the Netherlands in February and were trying to defend their position in the World Group. But it will be Romania joining the top 16 countries in the world next year.
Romania led 2-1 heading into Sunday's singles matches and clinched the victory in the first match when world No. 15 Andrei Pavel defeated Frank Dancevic of Niagara Falls, Ont., 6-2, 6-4, 6-2.
``My serve let me down today,'' said Dancevic, who turned 20 Sunday. ``I had some chances in the second set. We've come a long way as a team and I'm looking forward to playing Davis Cup for my country, winning some ties and getting back to the World Group.''
In the second singles match, Simon Larose of Cap-de-la Madeleine, Que., was forced to withdraw in the first set with a shoulder injury. Larose was trailing Victor Ionita 4-2 at the time.
After Dancevic and Larose lost their singles matches Friday, Toronto's Daniel Nestor and Frederic Niemeyer, from Deauville, Que., defeated the Florin Mergea and Ionita 6-4, 6-4, 2-6, 6-2 9 in doubles Saturday to keep Canada alive.
Pavel, 30, needed one hour 41 minutes to beat Dancevic, ranked No. 207 in the world.
Pavel played a tactical game, often coming to the net to win precious points. Dancevic also came to the net, but he was inaccurate at times.
In the second set, Dancevic stepped up the pressure when the score was 3-2 to Pavel and broke his opponent's serve. However, he then went on to lose his service game to Pavel.
In the final game, Dancevic hit volleys and saved two match points. But Pavel finally prevailed.
Encouraged by an enthusiastic crowd of about 3,000, Pavel delighted spectators by showing his best game.
``It was the toughest match I played in my life,'' Dancevic said. ``You guys have a great player.''
Dancevic said that Romania won the playoff because they were supported by the home crowd and the Romanian players were more used to playing on clay. The Canadians favour hardcourt.
``We deserve to be in the World Group,'' Pavel said. ``My dream is for Romania to be in the (world's) top eight.''
A birthday cake was carried onto the court after the match ended to mark Dancevic's 20th.
Larose said his shoulder injury would keep him out of tennis for four months.
``I decided to risk (playing) because it is important for us to play in the Davis Cup,'' he said.
Nestor and Ionita exchanged barbs Saturday. Nestor was irked by comments made by Ionita in the media, questioning his positioning as the world's no. 1 doubles player.
``What bothered me is picking up the newspaper this morning and seeing some 18-year-old saying that I couldn't play on clay,'' he said.
Ionita, 21, retorted at a separate news conference: ``I admit he is a good player but he did not seem to be coming from another league,'' he said. ``He didn't really impress me today.''
And here's a pic of Simon getting treatment on court....
KOM IGEN PIM PIM