Thus far the U.S.-Colombia Davis Cup tie has gone fairly to form. After Alejandro Falla’s heartbreaking loss to Mardy Fish on Friday, Santiago Giraldo restored some order on the Bogota red clay by pounding Sam Querrey to earn a Colombia a split on Friday.
Yesterday, Fish and John Isner (in for the missing Bryans) had little troubling winning the doubles to give the US a 2-1 lead heading into today’s final two rubbers.
And now the pressure is on.
The US is scheduled to send out Fish at noon against Giraldo and then, if needed, Querrey vs. Falla in the clincher.
Outgoing captain Patrick McEnroe has decisions to make, however. Fish may be weary after a four-hour match Friday followed by four sets of doubles yesterday, all in the altitude.
And if it comes to a deciding rubber, is Querrey really the guy you want to keep the US from embarrassment of sliding into the Davis Cup minor leagues next year?
McEnroe does have Isner on the bench and my guess is he substitutes Isner for Querrey if he has any doubts.
Giraldo is the favorite to beat Fish and probably would be favored to beat Isner. So it doesn’t make a lot of sense to waste a “bullet” on Giraldo.
Falla, though, seems to be the Colombian weak link. The guy can play well – as he did against Roger Federer earlier in the summer – but he has difficulty finishing. And today’s going to be his toughest test yet.
The same can be said for Querrey, who for all the wins at the smaller events has yet to step up at a Slam or even win a live Davis Cup rubber when it counts the very most in our sport. (And I don’t mean to pick on Sam, Mardy also struggles when the pressure and expectations are at the greatest.)
But during his short time on the tour, Isner has shown he can finish the job in big matches.
So if you are Mac what’s the move?
If Giraldo does beat Fish (by no means a guarantee) I think Sam gets the nod to prove his mettle in the finale – even though it may be right move, getting passed over would mentally crush Querrey.
And against Falla it will be a tight, tense, ugly drama-filled fifth rubber. But this time I think Sam finally gets his signature win.
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