Saturday September 15, 2012
Spain in the lead as Ferrer beats Querrey in the Davis Cup singles semi-final
GIJON (Spain): Spain’s David Ferrer beat Sam Querrey of the United States 4-6, 6-2, 6-2, 6-4 in the opening singles rubber in their Davis Cup semi-final on his home red clay yesterday.
Querrey won the first set but the Spanish world number five held his nerve, neutralising the gangly American’s blistering forehand with deft returns to the delight of the rowdy crowd in Gijon.
“It was a hard match, difficult at every moment,” said Ferrer, 30, currently Spanish number one in the absence of injured Rafael Nadal.
“Querrey played a very good match but in the end I was up to it.”
Ferrer broke Querrey’s serve in the first game of the match but then flagged as the American recovered to break him twice and win the set.
“I’m a bit tired, but that’s normal. It’s almost the end of the year and it’s impossible to play perfect tennis,” said Ferrer, who had arrived in Gijon this week straight from the US Open where he lost to Novak Djokovic in the semi-final.
Ferrer, one of the world’s finest clay-court players, soon found his rhythm and cruised through the next two sets.
He finally stamped out Querrey’s resistance in the fiercely-fought fourth, defending several break points in a series of dazzling rallies.
“David is tough, he makes you work for every point. I could have been a little more agressive on some of the points I should have hit,” Querrey said. “I think it was just a few points that were really the difference.”
Holders Spain took a 1-0 lead into the second rubber of the tie, with world number 12 Nicolas Almagro facing giant American John Isner and his formidable serve.
Spain have dominated the Davis Cup over the past decade, winning it five times, and are surfing a wave of 23 consecutive home victories.
Today, the American twins Bob and Mike Bryan, the world’s top-ranked doubles players, face Marcel Granollers and Marc Lopez, before the reverse singles ties tomorrow.
In Buenos Aires, Juan Martin del Potro showed few signs of being slowed by an injured left wrist as he beat Radek Stepanek 6-4, 6-4, 6-2 to give Argentina a 1-0 lead against the Czech Republic in their semi-final clash.
Del Potro, who was told by doctors not to play with the inflamed wrist, broke the Czech in the ninth game en route to winning the first set.
The former US Open champion broke Stepanek twice in the second and third set and got stronger as the match went on.
Del Porto looked good during the match, but broke down in tears as he spoke to the crowd afterward on a courtside microphone at Parque Roca, a clay-court venue on the outskirts of the Argentine capital.
“In truth, it wasn’t easy to play,” Del Potro said, with the crowd breaking into chants of “Ole, Ole, Ole” to interrupt him.
“You can see how I suffered playing. I did it for all of you. Playing here means so much for you, for the country, for Argentine tennis - for everyone and me too. I want to thank you for the love and support you have always shown me”
Stepanek tried to work to Del Potro’s backhand – where the Argentine uses his left hand on the two-hand shot. Del Potro wound up with only three winners off his backhand compared to 11 for the Czezh, an indication he was playing at a disadvantage.
“There is always some pain,” Del Potro told fans. “We all have some pain - some more than others. The important thing is to try to play and do your best.”
Argentina is trying to reach its fifth Davis Cup final. It has lost all four previous finals, including a year ago against Spain. Del Porto said on Thursday he would not have played were this an ordinary tournament.
Stepanek was his own worst enemy, converting only one of eight break-point chances. Del Porto made good on five of seven. — Agencies