MADRID — Canada has avoided a confrontation with any of the current top eight singles players in the world in the opening round of the inaugural Davis Cup finals.
In the draw on Thursday, No. 13-ranked Canada was placed in Group F with the sixth-ranked United States and No. 10 Italy for the Nov. 18-24 competition.
The format saw the top six teams placed in one of six pools before teams from Nos. 7-12 were drawn into groups, followed by squads from Nos. 13-18. The three teams in each group will play a round-robin in the opening round.
The winner of each group and the two best second-place teams advance to the quarterfinals.
The semifinalists automatically qualify for the 2020 Davis Cup finals.
The top singles player in Canada’s group is No. 9 John Isner of the U.S. Canada’s Milos Raonic of Thornhill, Ont., follows at No. 14 and Italy’s Fabio Fognini is No. 15.
Canada booked a spot in the 2019 finals with a come-from-behind 3-2 win in Slovakia earlier this month. Canada played without Raonic, getting two singles wins from Denis Shapovalov of Richmond Hill, Ont., and one from Felix Auger-Aliassime of Montreal to secure its berth.
The format has changed from previous years when all ties were held in one of the competing teams’ countries.