Monday September 17, 2012
Davis Cup: Spain back in final
GIJON (Spain): Spain reached their fourth Davis Cup final in five years after David Ferrer gave them a 3-1 semi-final victory over the United States by beating John Isner 6-7 (3-7), 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 yesterday.
Unfazed by the absence of injured Rafael Nadal, Spain will travel to Argentina or the Czech Republic for the final, depending on which country prevails in the other semi-final due to be decided in Buenos Aires.
“This is a dream for me – another Davis Cup final,” Ferrer said after his win, which delighted the rowdy home crowd cheering for their beloved “Ferru”.
“It was unbelievable, the atmosphere supported me the whole match,” he added.
The United States had kept the tie alive against the five-time champions with a doubles victory by twins Bob and Mike Bryan on Saturday, but US Open semi-finalist Ferrer, on his favourite red clay, prevailed over Isner, the world number 10.
The six-foot, nine-inch (206cm) American beat Ferrer in a tie-break in the first set but failed to cement his lead in the second.
The Spaniard dominated the following three sets, powering out of sight in the fourth, his deft returns outfoxing the flagging American who had already fallen to Nicolas Almagro in a four-hour battle on Friday.
“It’s disappointing. The Spanish team was just too good,” Isner said after the defeat to Ferrer.
“I had some momentum and a chance to break him and I didn’t. He raised his game quite a bit in the second set and throughout the rest of the match.”
Ferrer, currently number one in his country’s team in Nadal’s absence, tamed Isner’s formidable serve and aggressive style with precision returns and passing shots and capitalised on a series of unforced errors.
It was Ferrer’s 16th Davis Cup victory in a row on clay.
“I’m playing the best season of my career, so I’m really happy,” he said after Sunday’s match. “John Isner is a very good player and this tie was never easy.”
Nadal could make a return for the final in November if he recovers from the knee injury that kept him out of the Olympics and the US Open this summer, but Spain’s team coach Corretja avoided speculating about it.
Corretja said that either the Czech Republic team with Tomas Berdych and Radek Stepanek or Argentina on home ground would present a “very tough” tie for the final.
The United States – the most successful team overall in Davis Cup history with 32 victories – admitted they were not favourites when they came to Spain for the tie.
But under the captaincy of former Grand Slam-winner Jim Courier, they had chalked up back-to-back away wins in Switzerland (5-0), where Isner shocked Roger Federer, and France (3-2), where he defeated Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.
Argentina’s hopes of making the final suffered a double blow on Saturday when they slipped 2-1 down to the Czech Republic and lost top player Juan Martin Del Potro through injury.
He was replaced by world number 45 Carlos Berlocq in Sunday’s clash against US Open semi-finalist Tomas Berdych, the sixth-ranked player, before Juan Monaco was scheduled to tackle Stepanek.
Spain, who have dominated the Davis Cup over the past decade, beat Argentina in the final in 2008 and 2011.
The fifth match of the Spain-USA tie in Gijon, due to be played between Nicolas Almagro and Sam Querrey, was called off after Ferrer’s victory determined the tie. — AFP