Spain Surprises Argentina in Davis Cup Final Day One
by Richard Vach | November 21st, 2008, 4:56 pm
  • 37 Comments

The Davis Cup final, the pinnacle of the men’s tennis year as far as national rivalries are concerned, always has surprises in store. While the top two teams are decided prior to the final with favorite and underdogs, a long season featuring exhaustion, injuries and hot/cold streaks always plays a factor.


Last year the U.S. defeated Russia in the final without former No. 1 Marat Safin, and the Russians sitting Nikolay Davydenko (bad mistake) in singles, contributing to a 3-0 sweep by the Americans. The prior year Safin was the hero as the Russians won the fifth and deciding singles, with Argentine Jose Acasuso on the sports biggest stage, coming up just short for his country. The prior year Croatia won in a fifth and deciding singles, when the Slovak Republic had to substitute unheralded Challenger-level player Michal Mertinak for an ailing Karol Kucera. Anything can happen in a Davis Cup final, and usually does.

That’s why it was no surprise when heavy underdog Spain ended today’s kickoff of the final in a 1-1 tie with host Argentina.

Spain was the slight favorite entering the encounter behind world No. 1 Rafael Nadal, but after Rafa pulled with a knee injury, the betting swung heavily toward the Argentine side. Spain’s David Ferrer has had a disastrous second half of the season and enters the tie with little confidence, while Feliciano “F-Lo” Lopez does not have a history as a big-match winner.

The opener Friday went according to script, with Argentina’s David Nalbandian rolling past Ferrer, but F-Lo flipped the script with a four-set win over Top 10er Juan Martin Del Potro to even the tie at 1-1 entering the Saturday doubles. Del Potro came up gimpy late in the match, an injury that could leave him out of Sunday play and further Spain’s underdog chances, but F-Lo came up big in the second and third-set tiebreaks before winning in four.

Saturday’s doubles will be nothing if not interesting, and not pretty. F-Lo and partner Fernando “Hot Sauce” Verdasco spray balls all over over the place, yet post their share of big wins in Davis Cup play. Over the last two years they have a 3-2 win-loss record as a team in Davis Cup, with two of those wins coming 12-10 in the fifth set.

The Argentines have announced Jose Acasuso and Agustin Calleri in doubles, a dubious proposal as Nalbandian usually partners one or the other. It will be up to Argentine captain Alberto Mancini to determine whether Nalbandian’s straight-set victory on Friday leaves him fresh enough for the Saturday doubles and a potential live fifth-rubber appearance on Sunday.

Look for last-minute substitutions and no lack of drama on Saturday as the underdogs could become the potential overachievers entering Sunday play.


Also Check Out:
2012 Davis Cup Draw: US Travels to Switzerland, Spain the Favorites Again?
Nadal Leads Spain Against U.S. in Davis Cup; Del Potro, Argentina Host Russia
Nadal Withdraws from Davis Cup Final
Nadal Leads Spain In Search Of Fifth Davis Cup Title This Weekend
Davis Cup Playoffs: Serbia Goes To India, Spain Travels To Brazil

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37 Comments for Spain Surprises Argentina in Davis Cup Final Day One

zola Says:

I didn’t see the first match, but looking at the live scores, it wasn’t so good for Ferrer. I was able to watch a game or two from Feli-DP match on justitv, which was freezing every other second. But I am so glad that Feli did not give up and fought hard to win that match. Vamos Feli, Vamos Espana!

btw, I read that DP had an injury in the final set. It is disappointing indeed. Hope it is not serious.

You are right that Ferrer has had a less than ideal second half of the season. I am surprised he was not replaced by Ferrero or Robredo.

Tomorrow’s match should be very exciting. I am so glad this became competetive and not a one-way wash.


mem Says:

great win for nalbandian, but i’m cheering for spain, especially for rafa nadal, whenever he plays and wherever he plays. he’s a prince, he’s charming, and the impact he has on tennis is undeniable! no wonder, there were those who wanted the davis cup final to be postponed until nadal could play. wishful thinking! anyway, i’m elated to see lopez get the win. i do believe they have a chance to pull off the upset. go, spain!


Ezorra Says:

Viva Espana!!! :0


Von Says:

Ths situation presently looks pretty dismal for Argentina with DelPotro sustaining an injury. I had my doubts about his performance since Paris. The doubles tomorrow will be the focal and/or turning point in this final. If Argentina can win the doubles without Nalby, then I’m sure Nalby could win the deciding rubber on Sunday. Acasuso has been playing badly since he lost that final rubber to Safin in ’06. For some reason that loss had a huge psychological impact on him, (similarly, to PH mathieu’s DC loss a couple of years ago) and he just seemed to lose interest in the sport. He was inonsolable after that loss. In view of how badly Acasuso’s game has deteriorated, I wonder what positive contribution could he possibly be in the doubles. Probably a Canas/Calleri match-up would have been more beneficial to Argentina in the doubles. Come on Nalby & Co., you can do it!

Question; Whatever happenend to Juan Ignatio Chela? He’s another that has suffered a huge slide in ’07.


zola Says:

mem, Ezorra,
congratulations.

I was pretty disappointed this morning after Ferru’s loss. But Lopez just stepped up and won the match. Great job.

Rafa sent a message to his friends before the match:
*********
Vamos España !!!

Just wanted to send a message of encouragement to my team-mates who are currently in Mar del Plata playing the Davis Cup. You all know how much I would have liked to be there with them to honour Spain’s colours but unfortunately that is not the case.

I’ve been on the phone with them these last few days and I know they are very excited to play. They have no pressure what so ever and that is always good.

We have a very competitive team and we know they will give their everything to play the best they can. We have to trust them and support them.

Best of luck to them and Vamos España!

WE CAN DO IT!!!

Rafa

****************

I am still not sure about Spain’s chances. But even if they lose, at least it won’t be very lop-sided.


mem Says:

thanks, zola. well, if verdasco/lopez can win the doubles, spain’s chances will become increasingly better! i’m hopeful!


zola Says:

TV schedule for USA:

USA : Tennis Channel

Day 2 :22/11/2008 14:00 LOCAL (16:00GMT)
Day 3 :23/11/2008 12:00 LOCAL (14:00GMT)
—————————-
rest of the world:
http://www.daviscup.com/ties/tvschedule.asp?tie=100010174


zola Says:

mem,

Verdasco/lopez is a great team. They have good chances and work very well together. My concern is that even if they win, then Lopez would be very tired for Sunday. But perhaps it is better to grab a win if they can and then think about the rest. :)


john Says:

A tremendous start for Nalbandian but a disappointing ending for Del Potro. That is how you can summarized the overall performance from Day 1.

David Nalbandian was just perfect on every aspect of his game and he could do no wrong. Ferrer did had his moments where I felt that he could pull something, but Nalbandian gave him no room for revival. This was the one of the best performance from Nalbandian that I’ve seen in a while.

I have to admit that I was expecting Del Potro to give us a 2-0 lead. But I can put the blame entirely on him as he was carrying a minor injury during the game. I’m sure he will look back with plenty determination to win on Sunday.

Now here comes the moment which I fear the most. Just like what happened, it will be the double event that might be crucial for Argentina on their Davis Cup quest. I hope Nalbandian/Calleri can pull something out of this but Spain will have plenty of confidence following Feliciano’s win. We’ll see how things goes.

In the meantime, please check out my re-cap on the matches from Day 1. Of course, your feedback is highly appreciated.

http://mundoalbiceleste.blogspot.com/2008/11/davis-cup-final-day-1-mixed-fortunes.html


zola Says:

live stream for the doubles matchs:
http://www.mogulus.com/strecoptetor


Cip Says:

one question for you : if Spain wins ,will Nadal be considered a winner of this year’s Davis Cup ? cause he brought his contributions earlier in the year ,even though he is not here at the finals.


Zola Says:

what a match. Verdasco chocked big time twice but they were both able to come back and win that crucial third set and the fourth. Great, great job!

Viva Espana!

Cip,
This is all a team work and they have all contributed to it. Rafa’s wins in the semis helped bring them to the finals and others took it from there. Especially right now Feliciano Lopez is just great. He won over Del Potro yesterday and had the strength ( mental and physical) to come and play a 4-set doubles match and win that.

I hope they can clich that one win tomorrow too. That will be just fantastic!


mem Says:

good question, Cip. i’m not sure, but i think nadal should be considered a winner because like you stated, he has made contributions that were vital to getting spain to the final. matter of fact, i think rafa played with a muscle problem in his davis cup semifinal matches against sam querry and andy roddick. in my opinion, if spain wins, the davis cup should be added to his list of titles for the year; deservedly so! congratulations to verdasco/lopez for their great determination! i know rafa is jumping up and down, wherever he is, and he should be. verdasco/lopez kept their cool beautifully. just one more win to the finish line, if ferrer can defeat del potro in the first match. it will be interesting!


Mike gaobest Says:

I’m definitely shocked that Argentina’s not doing as well as expected, with Nadal’s departure. Day 3 is going to be a huge challenge.

I’d love to see Nalbandian win a Davis Cup – I’ve been sympathetic for him for years. He may be one of the most faves to never win a GS, yet with some of the most impressive final victories – Masters Cup over RFed, Masters titles over RFed and Nadal, junior GS titles… I think his days of going deep in GS are sadly over and I’d have hoped he’d get Davis Cup as consolation.

As for Nadal being a Davis Cup winner this season, I think we all feel he’d deserve it, but stats-wise I’m not sure if it occurs that way. It seems that only the players who were on the Final team are the ones who get future credit for it. Otherwise lesser players who played in earlier ties en route to the final would also share in the credit, and I don’t recall that happening in the past.

Either way, Nadal has already won Davis Cup. Add his Olympic Singles Gold, and these are two events Federer will probably never win (unless he really dedicates himself to Davis Cup ala Roddick/Bryans, since Switzerland could potentially win Davis Cup) in his amazing career. I assume Federer will win The French in ’09 if Nadal has serious troubles with the knees.


zola Says:

mem,
I read somewhere that tomorrow Calleri or Acacuso might play the first match. I think Del Potro is still injured.

I hope Ferrer can win that. Otherwise, it will be Nalby and Lopez and I would never bet against NAlby on a hard court, especially in a deciding game on Argentine soil!


mem Says:

you’re absolutely right, zola! we’ll have to wait and see how everything unfolds. argentina wants this cup badly, and nalbandian is going to do everything within his power to win! nevertheless, i will remain optimistic! by the way mike, you are probably right. the guys who actually played in the final will get the credit, and rightly so. i don’t mine at all, and knowing rafa as we do, he’s definitely not selfish; he doesn’t have a reputation for wanting credit, he just want spain to win. that’s a pretty good attitude to have! however, if spain wins, those guys will have earned every bit of the credit.


tennismonger Says:

No matter how this turns out, the interesting thing is that by virtue of Rafa’s absence, Spain appears to have become a better hardcourt team – they might just pull this off which would be heartbreaking for the Argies…


tony ireland Says:

thanks for the link Zola.


jane Says:

My congrats to Spain, the players and the fans! They proved a lot of us wrong. Admittedly, I was hoping for Argentina, as they’ve never won it before, and I wanted to see Nalby reach the heights of a big win, but the Spaniard have pulled it out – and Rafa-less too!


zola Says:

Congratulations to Spain! What a monumental and heroic effort to win this Davis cup, away from home on hard courts and all odds….This is huge.

And my heart goes out to the Argentine players and fans. It is bad that one side has to lse. It was hard to see Chucho cry after the second break in the fifth set and after the match. Also big hugs to Nalby, Del Potro and Calleri….I really hope they can win it next year.

tennismonger,
I completely agree thet Rafa’s absence might have helped the Spaniards to win. They went there more relaxed as the underdogs. Also if Rafa was there, he would have probably played NAlby and lost to him and Ferrer would have probably lost to Del Potro. This was Feli and Verdasco’s time to shine and boy, they did not disappoint!

To me the wrong decision was to put Nalby in the doubles on Saturday. He could have won if he was playing today.

Nevertheless, Spanish players won the DAvis cuo away and on the hard courts. Just phenomenal and congratulations to them all. And again, big hugs to the Argentine players and fans.

tony Ireland,
You are welcome. I am glad someone used that link!


tony ireland Says:

YES Zola a wet windy day here in Ireland watched Verdasco win on your link a good way to pass the wet afternoon.Was happy for Spain play a bit there myself in Lew Hoad club the most beautiful club in Spain.France now taking over producing a stream of great players, but none like Santoro unfortunatly!!
thanks again


Giner Says:

“Saturday’s doubles will be nothing if not interesting, and not pretty. F-Lo and partner Fernando “Hot Sauce” Verdasco spray balls all over over the place, yet post their share of big wins in Davis Cup play. Over the last two years they have a 3-2 win-loss record as a team in Davis Cup, with two of those wins coming 12-10 in the third set.”

12-10 in the third? Do you mean 5th?

“Saturday’s doubles will be nothing if not interesting, and not pretty. F-Lo and partner Fernando “Hot Sauce” Verdasco spray balls all over over the place, yet post their share of big wins in Davis Cup play. Over the last two years they have a 3-2 win-loss record as a team in Davis Cup, with two of those wins coming 12-10 in the third set.”

Nalbo is actually very good at doubles, even though he only plays it in DC. It was a tough call. I think Mancini wanted Nalby to be as fresh as he could to beat Lopez, and he was counting on Ferrer getting whipped by whoever he puts on, and the doubles would have just been icing on the cake and not so key for Arg.

Nalbo is used to winning all 3 rubbers for Arg. He’s a lot fitter than he looks, so they should have just used him. He has a belly, but I’ve never seen him retire from a match or get fatigued. He came back from 2-sets-to-0 down against Federer in Shanghai with 3 of those sets going 7-6 to win the biggest title of his career.


Giner Says:

“no wonder, there were those who wanted the davis cup final to be postponed until nadal could play.”

Ooh that’s a quote the argies should regret making. They said they’d rather wait till Nadal can play because they won’t get any satisfaction from winning if they don’t beat him.

If they were to lose to a Nadal-featured team, they would end up looking VERY stupid. But if they lost to a team without him, they’d look even dumber. They were just overconfident in this case. Trashtalk doesn’t pay.


Giner Says:

Acasuso does indeed look like the PHM of Argentina now that you mention it.

Cip Says:

“one question for you : if Spain wins ,will Nadal be considered a winner of this year’s Davis Cup ? cause he brought his contributions earlier in the year ,even though he is not here at the finals.”

He’s not going to be a ‘winner’. Only 4 people get that honour, but he’ll be recognised for his efforts. When he was on the team in 2004, Spain made sure to mention the important guys who played their part getting the team to the final when not all of the finalists were present (Lopez and someone else was in that position).

“As for Nadal being a Davis Cup winner this season, I think we all feel he’d deserve it, but stats-wise I’m not sure if it occurs that way. It seems that only the players who were on the Final team are the ones who get future credit for it. Otherwise lesser players who played in earlier ties en route to the final would also share in the credit, and I don’t recall that happening in the past.”

It’s the team that gets the credit, not individual players. I’m not aware of any stat that says “winners” with players on it. It will have the team, which you can expand to see who the players were in each tie. But at the end of the day, four men hold the trophy, and Nadal will not be among them. He’s not even in Mar Del Plata.


zola Says:

tony,
now that you have to pass time, some more links for you:
http://www.rtve.es/mediateca/videos/20081123/celebracion-por-todo-alto/347507.shtml

you can more videosfind under the main screen.

Vamos!

Giner,
true, it is a team effort. Nadal helped win the semis and these guys won the final. everyone has their share. I am so glad that Feli and Verdasco were able to show that Spain is more than just one man. This is their time to shine!


zola Says:

oops, I meant you can find more videos under the main screen!


Giner Says:

If there is a DC “winners” list, Marcel Granollers would be on the list before Nadal would, even though he didn’t play a match. He was on the team in the finals and Nadal wasn’t. The finals is the only heat that counts.

Next year I don’t see it changing. If Spain is in a final, he’s going to be in no form to play. As Del Potro showed, those who had a long season and made it to the TMC are going to be spent or injured when DC begins. The scheduling for DC should be changed. Have the entire competition played in a month or something. Those teams who didn’t make it past the first round get 3 weeks of rest (or a week of relegation play off and then 2 weeks of rest), which I’m sure they won’t complain about.


tennismonger Says:

zola – yup, a headshaking & frustrating loss for the argies; they will now have a lot of time to second-guess & maybe plan for next year. Spain simply rocks!

tony i – funny you should bring up Santoro, when i wasn’t following DC this weekend i was utubing fab’s highlights – they’ve got a through-the-legs against fed that is just INSANE – he’s too cool! I hope he plays another year…


zola Says:

Giner,
yes, wish they change the format of the Davis cup. It is too much to ask from the players expecially those who had a long season.

tennismonger
I LOVE Santoro. I sure hope he decides to play for another year or two. He is never boring to watch.


Von Says:

In 2006, the Russians played a looong season and won the Davis Cup.

In 2007, the US played an exceptionally long season and won. ALL of the US players had to play in the TMC plus Davis Cup unlike the Spainish who didn’t play in the TMC, so the long season is really not a factor when we look at the whole picture, is it?

Roddick played 2007 TMC with a frozen back, made the TMC SFs and lost to Ferrer because Andy was injured, but Andy didn’t complain and/or blamed it on the season; flew from China to the US and played DC the next weekend, and the US won. Hence, what’s the brou-ha-ha about the long season being a factor.

DelPotro was injured before the TMC and Davis Cup. Mancini should never has used him.


zola Says:

Roddick retired from TMC 2008 with an injury!


Von Says:

Amaing about the people who live off the US root against it on behalf of other countries – biting the hand that feeds them. Enjoy the freebies.


zola Says:

let’s arrest anyone who lives in US and roots for athletes of other countries. or better, gas them. seems Fuhrer has company!


JJFAN Says:

Better yet, skip the nationalism altogether, being objective about players from your own country and certainly from other countries. Exacting some due, requiring some reverence, because the US is so influential in so many ways seems a bit over the top.


tony ireland Says:

just as well Iran or Iraq dont have good tennis teams!!!Get real Von,the Vets in the USA would beat the present day bunch.maybe Obama will sort you all out.


Von Says:

tony ireland:

I don’t get what you’re saying, neither do I talk politics, ergo, talk of Iran/Iraq and Obama is kinda lost on me. :P

I suppose by “the vets” you mean Sampras, Courier, McEnroe and Agassi? If so, that’s debatable. I’m a fan of American tennis and I love all of our players. I like to watch World Team Tennis and see our guys in action too. Funny I’ve never seen the present top ranked players playing WTT, except for the Americans. I suppose playing exhos is better, huh.


tony ireland Says:

Von the fact that is is even debatable is proof enough that the present crop are a poor lot.look at the boys world rankings the no 1 is Bulgarian not a Usa player in top 10.Re politics you introduced the subject.correct there is no place for it here so leave it out.

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