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Canada pulled off a number of upsets on the way to a surprise appearance in the Davis Cup semifinals last weekend in Serbia. It was an incredible run that captain Martin Laurendeau feels was actually put in motion with a loss back in February 2012, when Canada dropped a 4-1 decision to a French side anchored by Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. "What I liked was the way our guys responded and rebounded from that," Laurendeau said Wednesday on a conference call. "France is very deep, has a great tradition at Davis Cup. It really helped us as a reference point, just a way to approach the competition as a team. "I think it reinforced the bond and the team chemistry with the guys." Canada bounced back later in the year with a solid 4-1 victory over South Africa at Montreals Uniprix Stadium, with singles star Milos Raonic of Thornhill, Ont., leading the way with a pair of victories. The win kept Canadas spot in the World Group and helped instil a feeling that the team belonged at the top level. Over the three ties that followed, the Canadians went out and proved it. The breakthrough season began with a first-round upset over top-ranked Spain in Vancouver. The Canadians returned to the indoor hardcourt at the Thunderbird Sports Centre two months later for an impressive quarter-final win over Italy. Canada then hit the road and pushed a powerhouse Serbian side the distance in front of a raucous crowd at the Belgrade Arena. Vancouvers Vasek Pospisil turned in a game performance in the fifth and deciding match on the indoor clay before falling to Janko Tipsarevic. It was a captivating weekend with plenty of drama and two five-set marathon victories for Canada. The effort should provide a tremendous building block for the 2014 Davis Cup, starting with a World Group first-round tie at Japan on Jan. 31-Feb. 2. "When you go through a Davis Cup weekend like we did against Spain, Italy and now Serbia, it really prepares you for the toughest experience you can go through," Laurendeau said. "So after that, you always feel like you can tackle anything that comes at you and I think the guys have handled that really well. "They really see now that Davis Cup is big, its huge, its very serious and theyre all aware of what we can do as a team. They know we can do great things and theyre really keen on doing that as best they can." Doubles star Daniel Nestor of Toronto is 41 now and continues to rise to the occasion. His five-set doubles victory with Pospisil was one of the highlights of Canadas first Davis Cup semifinal appearance in the modern era. Laurendeau said Nestor has no plans to slow down and expects to be in form for the Japan tie. "Hes going to be looking to be at his peak because theres a Grand Slam (Australian Open) the week before," Laurendeau said. "This guy plays for those big moments so hes going to be doing everything he can to be as fit as he can and continue his contribution. "He only has one shot at winning a point and he always makes every effort possible to be able to give himself the best chance to do that and I dont see anything different for 2014." No. 12 Japan holds a 5-0 record against seventh-ranked Canada, though the two teams have not faced each other in Davis Cup since 1938. Japan is making its return to the World Group in 2014 after a one-year absence. The host city for the Canada-Japan tie will be determined at a later date. Pospisil turned his ankle on the final point of the Serbia tie but it doesnt appear to be a serious injury. "Its not the first time hes gone over on an ankle," Laurendeau said. "It seems like the swelling and the injury is under control. Now its just a matter of the (doctors) figuring out when exactly he can step back on the court. At this stage its day to day from what I hear." Expect Canadas 2014 roster to look much the same as the last few seasons. Its a squad that appears to be positioned for even bigger things in the future. "We went from being qualifiers to being seeded in the main draw in the World Group," Laurendeau said. "Thats big progress, huge progress in just a couple years and Im very proud of the way the guys have done that." Cheap Jordan 8 Wholesale . They never thought it would take some blood, too. Kevin Love grabbed his 4,000th career rebound as part of a 19-point, 13-board effort to lead the Timberwolves over the Utah Jazz 112-97 on Tuesday night. Cheap Authentic Jordan 8 . CNN and Gazzetta dello Sport reporter Tancredi Palmeri broke the news via Twitter Tuesday afternoon. Italian Football Association President Giancarlo Abete has also resigned, according to Palmeri. http://www.cheapairjordan8.com/ . The Nevada Athletic Commission voted unanimously in Las Vegas to quit granting therapeutic use exemptions for fighters undergoing the so-called TRT. Wholesale Jordan 8 . Two weeks after suffering a concussion, Foles will start in place of Michael Vick, who is out for the second time this season with a hamstring injury. Cheap Jordan 8 Shoes . The injury could land Machado on the 15-day disabled list, but its not as serious as it looked on Monday night, when the third baseman crumpled in a heap at the plate after taking an awkward swing in a game against the New York Yankees.MONTREAL - The tightly cornered Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve is a different track than most in Formula One, but dont expect the Mercedes AMG team to be any less dominant. The Mercedes duo of three-time Canadian Grand Prix champion Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg has won all six races to start the season, finishing one-two in the last five. They will be the favourites again despite the close walls and hard braking on the 4.361-kilometre circuit. "I dont think it will be different from the other weeks before," a resigned Nico Hulkenberg of the Force India team said Thursday. The race weekend begins with practice on Friday, and qualifying on Saturday, before the grandstands on the island track across from downtown Montreal fill up on what is expected to be sunny, warm day for the 45th Canadian Grand Prix on Sunday. It will be first experience for Canadian fans of the quieter, more fuel-efficient 1.6-litre turbo engines introduced this year, which have dropped the formerly dominant Red Bull team down the grid and raised Mercedes AMG to near-invincibility. In the opening six events, Rosberg has two wins and finished second four times to lead drivers standings with 122 points. Hamilton has four wins and one second to sit second with 118 points. Next closest is Ferraris Fernando Alonso, a two-time world champion, with 61 points. Sebastian Vettel, the F1 champion the last four years with Red Bull, is sixth with 45. Some felt the peculiar Gilles-Villeneuve track, which features long straightaways leading into sharp turns, a hairpin and some tricky chicanes, might close the power gap on Mercedes. No such luck, said Hamilton. "Ill be guessing, but I dont feel that will be the case," the 29-year-old Briton said. "Were particularly strong in the straights, the Mercedes are, but I dont know. "Maybe well be surprised this weekend, but the long straights do suit us very well. We have a very good power unit in our engines. Mercedes has done the best job with the engines, so Renault and Ferrari would have had to have done an exceptional job coming into this weekend in that area to be able to keep up with us on the straights." The Mercedes supremacy is drawing comparisons to 1988, when the McLaren Honda team of Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost won 15 of the 16 races on the schedule, with the Brazilian taking eight and Prost winning seven. "In a way Im honoured to hear those comparisons because that was an extremely high-level, big battle at the time,, but I leave it at that," said Rosberg.dddddddddddd. "I dont really compare myself to that era. I want to do my own thing." It seems the only thing that can stop Mercedes may be infighting between Hamilton and Rosberg, but even the tension that was building between them looks to have abated since a blow-up at Monaco two weeks ago, when Hamilton felt Rosberg cheated him of a chance to claim pole position. Hamilton tweeted recently "we spoke and were cool, still friends #noproblem." The Hamilton-Rosberg duo already has Mercedes 141 points clear of Red Bull and 162 points ahead of Ferrari in the constructors championship. Vettel has had bad luck in Canada in the past, but broke through last year when he cruised to win from the pole, finishing 14 seconds ahead of Alonso. Now hes grasping at any edge to stay competitive. "It will be difficult to match the Mercedes-powered cars down the straights," the German said. "There are also some corners here and weve been competitive in the past. "We were in a very good position in to win the race in 2011 and we won last year, so we have reason to be confident. But we know it could be a difficult weekend. "We know that the corners are very tricky and demanding here and you can make up a lot of time in the corners. Well try to do our best down the straights and try to do better than everyone else on the corners." Another leveller could be the infamous wall of champions, a concrete barrier at the chicane leading to the final stretch to the finish line. Over the years, some of the sports greatest drivers have crashed into it. Jenson Button of McLaren Mercedes is confident that even with the lighter back end on this years cars they should get through the turn OK. "Weve been driving these cars all year and if we can drive these cars around Monaco, I think well be all right around here," he said. The McLaren, Force India and Williams teams also use Mercedes engines, but none has put the package of engine and car together quite like Mercedes AMG. "In terms of the development of the car, it is working and were going in the right direction," said Button, the 2011 Canadian Grand Prix winner who has found himself battling just to get into the points by finishing in the top 10 this season. "Its tough. "When youve been fighting for wins and the team is used to fighting for wins, its difficult when you find yourself in this situation." 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