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Auger-Aliassime headlines Canadian roster for Davis Cup Finals

Felix Auger-Aliassime Felix Auger-Aliassime - The Canadian Press

MONTREAL — The Canadian Davis Cup team is turning to a familiar face as it aims to defend its title at next month's Final 8 stage in Malaga, Spain.

Milos Raonic of Thornhill, Ont., was named to the five-man roster Monday for the Nov. 21-26 competition. He'll be joined by Montreal's Felix Auger-Aliassime, Vasek Pospisil of Vernon, B.C., Montreal's Gabriel Diallo and Alexis Galarneau of Laval, Que., who were all on the 2022 team that beat Australia in the final.

"I am honoured and thrilled to be able to captain such a great team at another Davis Cup Final," Canadian captain Frank Dancevic said in a release.

Raonic, 32, returns to the team for the first time since 2018. The former world No. 3 has an 18-6 career record in Davis Cup play and has been nominated to the team on 14 occasions.

He missed the 2022 campaign due to injury but picked up some impressive wins in his return this season.

Raonic beat 39th-ranked Miomir Kecmanovic of Serbia in his first match back last June in the Netherlands. He reached the third round at the National Bank Open, upsetting 10th-ranked American Frances Tiafoe in the first round.

Auger-Aliassime will be representing Canada at the Davis Cup for the sixth time in his career. The world No. 19 lost his first group stage match last year before earning eight straight wins en route to the title.

Pospisil, who has a 31-24 career record in Davis Cup play, won all four of his matches in the group stage this year. Diallo and Galarneau, meanwhile, are up-and-coming young players on the ATP Tour.

Denis Shapovalov of Richmond Hill, Ont., who won the opening singles match in last year's final, was not on the roster. He has battled knee issues at times this season.

Canada will play Finland in the quarterfinals on Nov. 21 at the Palacio de Deportes Jose Maria Martin Carpena.

Top-ranked Canada qualified for the Final 8 by winning the Group A pool last September in Bologna, Italy.

Finland, ranked 14th and captained by Jarkko Nieminen, is the lowest-ranked team to compete in Malaga.

Emil Ruusuvuori is the highest-ranked singles player on the Finnish team at No. 61. It will be Finland's first-ever appearance in a Davis Cup quarterfinal.

Australia will meet Czechia on Nov. 22. The quarterfinals in the bottom half of the draw — Serbia against Britain and the Netherlands versus Italy — are set for Nov. 23.

Semifinals will be played Nov. 24-25 and the final is set for Nov. 26.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 23, 2023.