World No. 15 star Milos Raonic captured Sunday's opening reverse singles rubber to give Canada an insurmountable 3-1 lead over Spain in a Davis Cup opening-round affair in Vancouver. The Canadians will host Italy in their first-ever quarterfinal in April.
The 6-foot-5 Raonic whipped Spain's Guillermo Garcia-Lopez 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 on an indoor hardcourt at Thunderbird Sports Centre. A determined Raonic pounded 22 aces and was not broken in just under two hours of play on Day 3.
The 82nd-ranked Garcia-Lopez replaced Marcel Granollers, a singles loser on Friday, for the fourth rubber of the weekend.
On Friday in Vancouver, Raonic and Frank Dancevic came through with singles wins to give Canada a commanding 2-0 lead in the best-of-five matchup.
Granollers and Marc Lopez got Spain's first point of the week and kept the visitors' hopes alive with a five-set doubles victory against Daniel Nestor and Vasek Pospisil on Saturday.
The five-time champion Spaniards were ousted by the Czech Republic in last November's Davis Cup final. They entered this week's matchup without any of their top-four stars in 11-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal, world No. 4 David Ferrer, 11th-ranked Nicolas Almagro and No. 24 Fernando Verdasco.