Canada, France split opening singles in tie

Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga made quick work of Vasek Pospisil while Canadian rising star Milos Raonic shut down Julien Benneteau in Friday's opening Davis Cup singles rubbers.

Former Australian Open runner-up Tsonga, No. 6 in the world, won 91 percent of his first serves (41-of-45) and saved the only break chance against him as he defeated Pospisil 6-1, 6-3, 6-3 in the first singles match of the week on the indoor hardcourt at Thunderbird Sports Centre.

Raonic thrilled the hosting Canadian crowd by firing off 24 aces to Benneteau's seven as he edged the Frenchman 6-2, 6-4, 7-5 in the nightcap.

Saturday's doubles will pit Benneteau and Michael Llodra against a Canadian duo of Pospisil and doubles great Daniel Nestor, while Sunday's reverse singles call for Tsonga to face the 21-year-old Raonic and Benneteau to meet the 21-year-old Pospisil. Tsonga titled in Doha last month, while Raonic was a winner in Chennai in January.

Team France is playing without three of its top-four competitors this week.

France owns nine Davis Cup titles, with its last one coming in 2001, while Canada has never reached a World Group final. France is 1-0 all-time against the Canadians, with the victory coming in Paris back in 1966.

The winner here will face the Switzerland-USA victor in the quarterfinals in April.