Canada took a commanding 2-0 lead over Spain in first-round Davis Cup action behind the surprising play of No. 2 singles player Frank Dancevic, who trounced Marcel Granollers with the loss of just five games.
Spanish team captain Alex Corretja told Efe prior to the start of the tie that it would be one of the most difficult in many years for the Iberian nation, which was without the services of Davis Cup stalwarts Rafael Nadal and David Ferrer, as well as other key players who had helped lead the country to five titles since 2000.
His words proved prophetic as big-serving Canadian Milos Raonic, the world No. 15, came from a set down in Friday's first match to dominate 51st-ranked Albert Ramos 6-7, 6-4, 6-4, 6-4.
Raonic hit 26 aces and a whopping 78 winners during the match, overpowering an opponent whose best results have come on red clay.
"I did a lot of things better and better throughout the match and am happy to start off with a win and get the crowd excited," Raonic said in the post-match press conference.
"I played quite well but I know there is a lot of space for improvement as well. The home crowd was everything I expected and more. It was a young crowd, fun crowd, loud crowd, supportive crowd and great crowd."
But the big surprise of the day came in the second singles match, when Dancevic, the world No. 166, routed the 34th-ranked Granollers 6-1, 6-2, 6-2 thanks to his consistent serving on the quick hard-court surface at the Thunderbird Sports Center in Vancouver.
Dancevic struck 10 aces, put 65 percent of his first serves in play and won 78 percent of his first-serve points, while Granollers only hit two aces and put in a low 52 percent of his first serves.
Even when he got his first serve in, the Spaniard won an anemic 57 percent of those points.
Dancevic capitalized on two of his first three break-point opportunities to win the first set in just 24 minutes and the rout was on.
The Canadian fended off eight break points in the final game before clinching victory in what he described afterward as a "flawless" performance.
"I went out there today expecting to play well, but I didn't expect to play the way I did. I really felt like I was flawless from the first point to the last," Dancevic said.
"I'm really happy about the way it turned out. I know when I'm in the zone I can play really well, but to be consistently in the zone, I think this was one of the best matches of my career."
The Spaniards now have a near-impossible task ahead of them, although their doubles team of Granollers and Marc Lopez is a formidable one and should pose trouble for the Canadian duo of Daniel Nestor and Vasek Pospisil on Saturday.
If Spain can win that match, the tie will come down to Sunday's reverse singles pitting Raonic against Granollers and Dancevic against Ramos.
In other first-round Davis Cup action, Serbia, the United States, France and Argentina all grabbed 2-0 leads after Friday's singles. Kazakhstan also took a two-point lead over Austria, but that advantage was reduced to one after Saturday's doubles.
Italy and Croatia are tied at 1-1 heading into Saturday's doubles, as are Switzerland and the defending-champion Czech Republic.
The Davis Cup is tennis' premier team competition. EFE