Posts Tagged ‘Davis Cup


Bob and Mike Bryan gave the United States a 2-1 lead in their Davis Cup tie with France in Monte Carlo.


Jo-Wilfried Tsonga had given France the lead on Friday before John Isner levelled and the Bryan twins gave the Americans the advantage with two rubbers left with a 6-4 6-4 7-6 (7/4) victory. The first two sets were close with the Bryans edging their opponents thanks to a break of serve in each set. In the third, there were no breaks with both pairs playing tight, controlled tennis with minimal unforced errors and they tied at 6-6 to force a tie-break. The Bryan brothers moved to 6-4 and match point and they prompted a driven forehand error to seal victory in two hours seven minutes. On Monday Tsonga will take on Isner with Gilles Simon facing teenager Ryan Harrison in what could be the deciding rubber.

The Czech Republic took a 2-1 lead against Serbia after Janko Tipsarevic and Radek Stepanek held off spirited opponents who came back in the third set to win 6-4 6-2 7-6 (7/4). Tipsarevic had come out on top in a five-hour five-setter with Stepanek to bring Serbia, without world number one Novak Djokovic, level at 1-1 with the Czech Republic in Prague. Berdych joined forces with Stepanek and they edged the first set against Ilija Bozoljac and Nenad Zimonjic with two breaks of serve before dominating the second. The Serbian pair broke at the start of the third and then held for 3-0, although their opponents managed to bring it back to 6-6, taking the set to a tie-break. Tipsarevic and Berdych eased into a 3-0 lead before their rivals levelled. It was nip and tuck but the Czech pair moved to 6-4 on their serve which they converted for victory.

Austria enjoyed a four-set victory over Spain who could have qualified for the semi-finals with a win as they led 2-0 going into today’s rubber. However, Oliver Marach and Alexander Peya overcame the loss of the first set to beat Marcel Granollers and Marc Lopez 3-6 6-4 6-4 7-6 (14-12). The Spanish had been in complete control of their tie with Austria from the outset with Nicolas Almagro and David Ferrer both easing to straight-sets victories yesterday. Granollers and Lopez broke twice in the first set as well as capitalising on their opponents’ numerous unforced errors, to win 6-3. However, Austrian pair Marach and Peya hit back in the second, breaking once and minimising their unforced errors count. They continued to surprise in the third, which they also won 6-4, to move to within a set of halving the deficit with the current title holders. With no breaks in the fourth, the set moved to a tie-break which swung this way and that with Austria eventually prevailing 14-12.

Argentina will take a 2-1 lead over Croatia into the final day of their tie in Buenos Aires after edging an epic doubles rubber. David Nalbandian and Eduardo Schwank beat Marin Cilic and Ivo Karlovic 3-6 7-6 (8/6) 6-3 6-7 (6/8) 8-6 in a match lasting one minute short of five hours.




Now we know why Federer never plays in the Davis Cup!…..he’s just not a team player.

One of the biggest shocks in recent Davis Cup history was completed on Saturday afternoon when the US doubles team of Mike Bryan and Mardy Fish beat Roger Federer and Stanislas Wawrinka in four sets to see the Americans through to April’s quarterfinals. The reverberations from John Isner’s stunning win over Federer on Friday night carried through to the doubles, which followed a very similar pattern to the Isner-Federer singles. The Swiss won the opening set and looked reasonably comfortable for a set and a half, but once the Americans had broken, the balance of power shifted, and Federer in particular fell away at the end as the US pair won 46 63 63 63 in 2 hours 18 minutes. Because so much was made of Federer’s return to the Davis Cup first round for the first time in eight years, it’s easy to see this result as a disaster for the Swiss. A disappointment it certainly is, but to view it as a disaster would be to take too much credit away from an American team that seems finally to have lost its fear of away clay.


Canada and France are tied at 1-1, today’s doubles are critical for both teams.

Thornhill's Milos Raonic prepares to serve in his Davis Cup match against France on Friday night in Vancouver.

Canadian captain Martin Laurendeau has to at the very least consider putting Raonic in the dubs as well instead of Pospisil on Saturday. For starters, Pospisil was obviously demoralized by his very forgettable performance against the powerful Tsonga. He wondered aloud in post-match interviews whether he’d be chosen to play doubles. More to the point, he’s just not playing very well at the moment, and hasn’t delivered a great deal of elite tennis since his magical Davis Cup performance for Canada in Israel last September. So the smart move for Laurendeau might be to wheel out Raonic, a strong doubles player himself, and that awesome serve. Beat the French in doubles, and Canada still has a shot at the huge upset.

The final choices don’t have to be announced until noonish on Saturday, with the match set for 2 p.m. local time (5 p.m. in Toronto). But after a day on which the pro-Canada crowd at Thunderbird Arena on the grounds of UBC started to get the feel of what’s permissable in Davis Cup and the kind of difference they might be able to make this weekend, expect Saturday and Sunday to be filled with raw emotion along with pounding drums, bugles, thundersticks and manner of things not usually associated with this sport. While Pospisil wilted, Raonic had the crowd in full roar by the end of his triumph over Benneateau, with his powerful serve hammering out 24 aces and frustrating the overmatched Frenchman every time he got a sniff. What Raonic didn’t deliver against Lleyton Hewitt at the Australian Open – a dominant performance — he most surely did deliver against Benneteau. Hard to say what the lineups will look like on Saturday. But what we can say is two exciting days for Canadian tennis await.



Aussies too strong for China as they go ahead 2-0 with victories by Tomic and Hewitt.

Australia leads China 2-0 in the Davis Cup Asia Oceania Zone One tie at Geelong, following a straight sets victory by Bernard Tomic over Wu Di today. The Aussie young gun was tested by world No.502 Wu, but pulled out a 6-4 7-6(3) 6-3 victory in windy conditions. “One day I hopefully can win the Davis Cup,” Tomic said, appreciative of the sell-out Geelong crowd, who at times referred to him as ‘Saint Bernard.’ In the first singles rubber, Lleyton Hewitt defeated China’s No.1 Zhang Ze representative 6-2 6-1 7-6, and will now hope to seal the tie when he steps out on Saturday with doubles partner Chris Guccione against Zhang Ze and Li Zhe. Following his victory over Zhang – which began easily and ended in a tussle – Hewitt warned that Wu Di was a far better player than his 500-ranking suggested. “Di Wu is the best 500 player I’ve ever seen,” Hewitt said. Added Australian Captain Patrick Rafter following Tomic’s victory: “They [the Chinese players] don’t get out of the country as much as they probably should. If they did that they’d be around the 200 mark at least.” Struggling with his returns, Tomic fell behind 3-0 in the second set of his match, but lifted his intensity enough to edge Wu with his deceptively low-angled slices, drop shots and deep ground strokes. How did Wu describe the experience of playing the young Wimbledon quarterfinalist? “He’s very cerebral player,” Wu said through an interpreter.

Tomic said the wind had messed with his rhythm, while Rafter believed the most difficult aspect of the rubber was for the world No.36 to mentally stay in a match he was expected to win easily. “Bernie more than anything struggled mentally,” said Rafter. “I know he’s hitting the ball well. It’s hard for him to get up sometimes for these sort of matches because he is playing someone he knows he should beat and he’s clearly a better player. To close that out he kept his mind together and that was the one thing I was proud of him, he probably didn’t play the prettiest tennis … but he found a way to win.” Rafter admitted the Australian side had been in several tight spots today, but were in no mood to drop a rubber. “He [Wu] put Bernie under a bit of pressure there for a while, if Bernie didn’t go with him he would have found himself in a tough four, five set match and I didn’t really want that, I wanted to be two nil up. That’s what we expected, that’s what we wanted on day one and we’ll try to close out tomorrow,” said Rafter.

A doubles victory for the home side on Saturday would propel them into a second zonal tie against either Chinese Taipei or Korea, with the winner progressing to a World Group play-off in September.



US Davis Cup team are definite underdogs against Switzerland on clay.

For the first time in eight years, Roger Federer has made himself available for the first round. The 16-time Grand Slam champion leads a Swiss team on indoor clay here in Fribourg, about 20 minutes by train from the Swiss capital, Bern, against an American team missing the injured Andy Roddick. Federer’s presence, alongside that of his Olympic gold medal doubles partner Stanislas Wawrinka, makes Switzerland one of the leading nations in this year’s competition – always presuming Federer plays beyond this weekend. “It’s just another tie for me,” he said, “it doesn’t matter when and where it is, it’s all a matter of priorities. My team is a group of great friends, that’s what I enjoy about it, that I can spend some time with them, and hopefully try to win but if we don’t it doesn’t matter. It’s about trying your best and having a good time.” If nothing else, his approach helps keep the focus on this weekend, in which he and Wawrinka are nominated to play on all three days.

Realistically, for the US to win, Fish has to beat Wawrinka in the opening match. There is also a belief that Ryan Harrison’s nomination alongside Mike Bryan is a ploy to keep the Swiss guessing, and even the American captain Jim Courier says the length of matches Fish and Isner play on the opening day will influence his ultimate choice of doubles pair. That suggests Fish could well team up with Mike Bryan, the way he did in September 2008 when the two Americans beat Spain’s Lopez/Verdasco on the clay of Madrid. Any suggestion it might be asking too much of Fish to play on all three days is refuted by his performance in September 2010, when he played two singles five-setters and a four-set doubles on the clay of Bogota to help the USA beat Colombia. With Federer playing, the visitors are clearly the underdogs, but there is a good spirit in the American team. And Fish makes an interesting point: “We like our chances here. We have the most uncomfortable player on our team in Isner, and I’m certainly glad I’m not playing him.”


R1: Wawrinka (SUI) v Fish (USA)

R2: Federer (SUI) v Isner (USA)


R3: Federer / Wawrinka (SUI) v M. Bryan / Harrison (USA)


R4: Federer (SUI) v Fish (USA)

R5: Wawrinka (SUI) v Isner (USA)



Nadal comes back to give Spain the 2011 Davis Cup.

Rafael Nadal’s Davis Cup moment has truly arrived. The minute he collapsed onto the red clay after winning the 2011 Davis Cup by BNP Paribas title for Spain, the entire 24,000-seat stadium did so with him. Even the Argentine fans, many in tears, couldn’t deny him his glory after the world the No. 2 came back from a disastrous first set to defeat Juan Martin del Potro 16 64 61 76(0) and clinch Spain its fifth Davis Cup title in Seville. Sobbing on the shoulders of teammates Juan Monaco and David Nalbandian, del Potro in everyone’s eyes was still a winner as the heart and determination he displayed in the 4 hour 8 minute war was second to none. The win gifted Nadal his 20th straight singles win in Davis Cup, having not lost a match since his debut in 2004, but handed a gut-wrenched Argentina its fourth loss in four finals, the only team to play and lose that many titles in Davis Cup history. The sorrow and the glory on the faces of both teams summed up what was one of the biggest Davis Cup ties the competition has seen.

After victory, Nadal fittingly hugged each and every one of the Argentine team members before running over to Carlos Moya in the stands to embrace his friend who had done exactly the same thing for Spain seven years ago on the very same court.


It’s not over ’til it’s over…..but who will play on Sunday?


Captain Tito Vazquez has a huge decision to make ahead of the reverse singles on who might have the better chance against Nadal, who simply outclassed Juan Monaco on Friday. The current line-up sees del Potro take up the challenge with Nalbandian saved for the fifth rubber should it go down to the wire. After today’s performance however, there were mutterings of Nalbandian perhaps having the greater fight to take on Nadal, given del Potro’s knackered state after being run ragged by Ferrer in five sets. Good news for Argentina though: he “feels good”, he says.

An outstanding performance from David Nalbandian and Eduardo Schwank in Saturday’s doubles rubber has forced the 2011 Davis Cup by BNP Paribas Final in Seville into a third day. Argentina’s scratch pairing embarrassed Feliciano Lopez and Fernando Verdasco into a 64 62 63 defeat, meaning the Final heads into Sunday’s first match between, as it stands, Rafael Nadal and Juan Martin del Potro with Spain leading 2-1. Nalbandian and Roland Garros doubles runner-up Schwank may have only ever played one tournament together back in 2008, but they still came into the match as slight favourites, largely due to the man from Cordoba, Nalbandian. A magical Davis Cup player, the 29 year-old pulled his best out of the bag for this match and was barely faultless with the solid support of his doubles specialist partner. “That’s Davis Cup,” said the veteran. “I really like it, I play better when I’m playing for my country and today we both played a great match from the beginning and it was unbelievable for us.”
















Argentina could upset the Spaniards for their first Davis Cup win.


This Davis Cup by BNP Paribas Final is a very sensitive one for the Argentines. For so long have they been fighting for that elusive title, so close were they to achieving it in 2008, and so clear is their determination to get it in their fourth chance here in Seville.   And never before have they been so well prepared. “All the players have been making a big effort over the last three weeks,” says Vazquez. “They have sacrificed their normal schedule and devoted energy to this tie. I’m very proud of them.” Adding, “This is the best group we have in Argentina. The five players here are the five I want to have.”

Argentina’s captain Tito Vazquez is playing his cards very close to his chest and he is wise to do so. With the Spanish team all set in their line-up – with the regular crew of Rafael Nadal and David Ferrer in the singles and Feliciano Lopez and Fernando Verdasco for doubles – Vazquez was reticent to give the game away when interrogated in Tuesday’s press conferences. At his disposal: world No. 11 Juan Martin del Potro, the in-form Juan Monaco, Davis Cup bloodhound David Nalbandian, and the all-rounders Juan Ignacio Chela and Eduardo Schwank. Who will play what will not be revealed until Thursday.

While Nadal and Ferrer were running the hard courts down at last week’s ATP Tour World Finals in London, the Argentines have been working hard on clay, training in Barcelona before arriving altogether in Seville on Friday. Neither Del Potro nor Nalbandian have played a competitive match since October, and it’s only Monaco who can bring a recent surge in success to the party, having finished runner-up in Valencia and a quarterfinalist at the Paris Masters. Collectively they may be out of match practice per se, but that could end up in their favour when the weekend unfolds. “We are practicing well and doing the best we can, preparing to play whatever we have to play,” a laidback Nalbandian told the media. “And me, every day I’m feeling better and better.”



Spain will host three-time runners-up Argentina in the final of the Davis Cup in December


Four-time winners Spain will host three-time runners-up Argentina in the final of the Davis Cup in December after they beat France and Serbia respectively. While Spain cruised past France 4-1 in Cordoba, Argentina enjoyed a narrow 3-2 overall victory with their progress confirmed when world number one Novak Djokovic had to retire through injury during his match with Juan Martin del Potro. Del Potro was leading 7-6 (7/5) 3-0 when Djokovic, who won the US Open title last Monday, went down with a scream and had to be carried to the bench, giving Argentina an unassailable 3-1 lead with one rubber remaining. Serbia’s Janko Tipsarevic narrowed the final deficit when he won the first set against Juan Monaco who subsequently retired.

Spain, though, eased impressively through with Rafael Nadal and Fernando Verdasco both enjoying straight-sets wins over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Richard Gasquet. Djokovic admitted with hindsight his decision to play against Argentina was not the correct one given the back injury he was carrying from the US Open. He said: “I feel very disappointed to end the tie in this way, I tried although I was only 60 per cent fit and I got into the match knowing there was a risk of aggravating the injury which I first felt at the US Open. “We knew my condition was not good but we believed that even so I would have a better chance against Del Potro than my team-mate Viktor Troicki would. At the end of the day it was my decision and it backfired. “I am not saying I would have won if I had been 100 per cent fit because Del Potro played at a very high level today and never in my professional career did I struggle with my return of serve as I did today. “The important thing now is to determine the extent of my injury and how long it will take me to recover, I was able to battle through the pain in the US Open final but not today.”




Serbia in danger of going down 0-2 against Argentina.

Janko Tipsarevic looks to level the score in Belgrade against Argentina’s Juan Martin del Potro in the second rubber of this Davis Cup by BNP Paribas World Group semifinal clash, following David Nalbandian’s early win over Viktor Troicki.

Tipsarevic is in the form of his life. He enters today’s match having reached his first Grand Slam quarterfinal at the US Open, where he was forced to retire with a leg injury against his team-mate and countryman Djokovic. But Del Potro will prove a tough test for the Serbian. The tall Argentine dispatched both Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal en route to his first and only Grand Slam title at the 2009 US Open and holds the notable distinction of inflicting the worst Grand Slam defeat on the mighty Spaniard. Del Potro has a perfect record against Tipsarevic in his two previous meetings and he and his team will be hoping for more of the same today. Novak Djokovic’s exhaustion from winning the U.S. Open and the long journey home have already dealt a blow to Serbia’s hopes of retaining their Davis Cup title, after his replacement Troicki was blown away by Nalbandian in their opening singles rubber. Former world No. 3 Nalbandian, now ranked 74th, produced a performance reminiscent of his prime to win 64 46 62 63 and give the Argentines a 1-0 lead in the Belgrade Arena, where a small but colourful and vociferous band of away fans had much more to cheer about than the partisan 15,000 home crowd. Troicki drew first blood when he broke his opponent in the third game of the opening set but Nalbandian showed no nerves, as he broke back in the sixth and again in the ninth before he held serve to take the first set. The roles were reversed in the second set, when Troicki carved out a double break point in the ninth game and took the second before he levelled the score to send the home crowd into raptures. Serbia’s fans, however, were silent for the rest of the contest as Nalbandian produced a flurry of winners in the third set, including an audacious lob which had the Argentinian contingent in the terraces, all wearing the country’s blue-and-white soccer team shirts, in full swing. Nalbandian raced through the fourth set just as impressively to seal the tie in 2 hours and 51 minutes, putting Argentina in the driving seat ahead of the day’s second rubber between Janko Tipsarevic and 2009 U.S. Open winner Juan Martin del Potro.


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