Roddick Rocked in Hometown as US Goes Down 0-2 to Spain; Agassi Gets Inducted
by Sean Randall | July 9th, 2011, 11:36 am

That was not how it was planned to go. Mardy Fish was suppose to comeback and beat Feliciano Lopez, winning another Davis Cup five set thriller. Then Andy Roddick, the local hero and resident, was to put the hammer down on David Ferrer all but ensuring a weekend win for Team USA and a mighty celebration Sunday night in Austin.

Instead, like a hit to head with a two-by-four, Spain’s ahead 2-0. Even without Rafael Nadal, Spain’s “B” squad still got over on USA on Friday as Lopez simply outplayed Fish and Ferrer proved the better player against the slumping Roddick.

First to the Fish-Lopez match. Give the lefty Lopez a lot of credit (and for agreeing to do the post-match interview with Justin Gimelstob!). Lopez is not just a pretty boy anymore, he’s suddenly winning big matches and yesterday continued improved play beating Fish, who is also in-form.

However, Lopez, who stunned Roddick at Wimbledon, looked dead and gone when he dropped serve to start the fifth. With nerves piling up, Fish gave it right back, and from there we went on a tension-filled journey that finally ended with Lopez break Mardy in the 14th game to win 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, 6-7 (2), 8-6 in just under four hours.

“When you are 6-all in the fifth set, anything can happen and anyone can win,” Lopez said. “I knew it would be a close match and that anyone can win.”

Said Fish of the fifth set, “Playing from ahead, with the crowd, that was the goal. It was a huge game, that 1-0 game, just to get my feet in front and feel like I was in front. I was up 40-15 in the game. That was the biggest game of the match, for sure.”

I thought both guys served exceptionally well – Fish had 40 aces, Lopez 34 – but off the ground their forehands were just awful at times. In the current age of dominant forehands, these two guys are the exceptions!

In the end, Lopez held it together a little bit better than Mardy in a pretty dead-even match.

Moving to Roddick. Even with Fish’s loss the stage was set for Roddick to orchestrate some hometown heroics. He wouldn’t let Team USA fall 0-2 in his backyard, would he?

Roddick come out blazing from the start against Ferrer. Looking like the 2003 version, Roddick was crushing his serve and going after his forehand. He secured a break and seemed to destined to take the first set, that is until he tried to serve it out at 5-4, 40-0.

Ferrer has long been known as one of the best returners in the game and the Spaniard dug deep to harness that skill, doing whatever it took to get the Roddick serves back. Why? Because a funny thing happened late in the first set, Roddick pulled the plug on his power game and in large part went back to his conservative, defensive playing style.

Instead of cracking winners and playing agressive on the slick, Austin hardcourt, Roddick essentially turned the match into a clay court affair. And against a guy like Ferrer, that’s not a good idea.

Still, Roddick had multiple chances to win the first set (six) and played tough, though reserved, off the ground in the breaker. And in a key moment just as the set was announced to Roddick, Spanish coach Albert Costa demanded a shotspot review on the final set point won by Roddick.

The review showed Ferrer’s ball stayed in, and back out to the court they went. Ferrer, who had conceded the set moments earlier, eventually won tiebreak.

After dropping a break in the second to go down 3-0, Ferrer came back to win 13 of the last 18 games to put a dispirited Roddick away 7-6 (9), 7-5, 6-3 and give Spain a commanding 2-0 set lead.

“Obviously it is an uphill battle. We’re not going to be the favorites down 0-2. We’re not out of this,” Roddick said. “I don’t think Bob and Mike have lost to Verdasco and Lopez. We can still do this.”

As for Andy, this weekend could be the damaging lowpoint in his career.

“I have too much respect for Ferrer to act like I’m stunned,” Roddick said. “The guy is six in the world for a reason. He played well. I thought I played pretty well for the first two sets, but the third set got away from me a little bit… He beat me tonight.”

“I felt like I hit the ball pretty well. I just got to play better on those big points. He played them better than I did tonight.”

Roddick did serve big and hit the ball well, but in many of the baseline rallies Roddick’s shots have very little stick. Roddick’s his backhand had very little to offer yesterday besides that mediocre slice and on a fast court against a so-so server in Ferrer, there’s wasn’t much aggressive off the return of serve for Andy.

And in the big picture, Roddick just isn’t making any impression on the top players in tennis anymore. Murray thumped him at Queen’s in a mismatch. Lopez took him out quite comfortably at Wimbledon and now just miles from his house on a court designed to enhance his game he loses to Ferrer in straight sets.

The pattern isn’t a good one.

Fortunately for Roddick and the rest of the team there’s still a lot of tennis to played and pride to be salvaged. Later today, I expect the Bryans to get the US on the board by beating the Spaniards will likely have Fernando Verdasco partnering with either Lopez or Granollers.

On Sunday, Roddick will have a chance to make amends and play savior by defeating Lopez in the fifth rubber, and I give Andy the slight edge. Lopez is a very nervy player and I don’t think even he believes he can beat Roddick a second straight time, especially in Austin. Would Andy really lose it on his home court?

Of course the problem for the US is getting to that fifth rubber. In the first match Sunday Fish will have to beat Ferrer under extreme pressure. Ferrer will make Mardy and his faulty forehand hit a lot of balls and unless Fish’s serve is really humming it’s really hard to see the Americans getting through that one. Maybe Jim Courier could play?

“Obviously, we would prefer the score be reversed,” new coach Courier said. “We have a job to do the rest of the way. Bob and Mike will be ready to put us into Sunday tomorrow.”

In other Davis Cup action, with players needing matches to assure themselves a spot in the 2012 Olympics, there’s lots of star power on the courts this weekend.

Juan Martin Del Potro has already led Argentina into the semifinals by thumping Kazakhstan at home 3-0.

After dropping the first two sets of the tie, France won nine straight sets to knock out Germany. Gasquet did the honors overcoming a 2-0 set hole in the first rubber to beat Florian Mayer and pace the Frenchmen who will await the USA/Spain winner in the September semifinals.

And in Sweden, after sitting out Friday’s singles rubber to rest, World No. 1 Novak Djokovic is on court this afternoon in the doubles trying to give Serbia the 3-0 sweep.

Also, Roger Federer and Andy Murray both helped their countries in the zonal competition. Federer dropped the opening set but beat Rui Machado in four to lead Switzerland to a 2-0 lead over visiting Portugal in Bern.

Murray had the easiest day among the top players posting a rare triple bagel over someone named Laurent Bram to level Britain with Luxembourg 1-1. The Murray brothers, Andy and Jamie, are in doubles today.

Tennis Channel has live USA-Spain doubles coverage just after airing the live Andre Agassi Hall of Fame induction at 12:30pm ET.

The 40-year-old Agassi did just about everything you could do in the sport. He won eight overall Slams including the career Slam. Agassi also won the Davis Cup, Olympic gold and reached No. 1. And heck, the guy married arguably the great female tennis player of all-time, Steffi Graf. Amazing.

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48 Comments for Roddick Rocked in Hometown as US Goes Down 0-2 to Spain; Agassi Gets Inducted

jane Says:

Fish and Ferrer is a very evenly matched affair: the world number 6 versus the world number 8. Their h2h is 4-3 for Fish with Mardy having won their most recent meeting in Miami this year, in straight sets, 7-5 and 6-2. Mardy played well in Miami and in Wimbledon so he is in good form. He may get the win.

Djokovic and Zimonjic lost their doubles tie. I wonder if Nole will play singles tomorrow? Or if it will be up to Tipsy or Troicki to close?

Argentina are through, and France too.

sar Says:

I would put Nole against anyone they have.

Dan Martin Says:

Fish-Ferrer will likely decide it, but Lopez is not a gimme even if it is 2-2 and Roddick can close it out at home. The US still has a good shot here, but to go down 0-2 on a favored surface with a home crowd to boot shows how many things would have to go right for the US to win another Davis Cup anytime soon.

margot Says:

Andy M was tearful after his win clinched Davis Cup victory. He said it was very emotional for him being back in Scotland playing in front of his family and loads of friends from Dunblane.
I just admire him more and more.

El Flaco Says:

2PM today is the grass court final in Newport. It’s Isner vs. Rochus, 6’9″ vs 5’6″, 245 lbs vs 150 lbs. Rochus has played Karlovic 3 times and beaten him twice so he is no stranger to playing against a big man.

jane Says:

That is sweet margot. I read the summary at the BBC. Meant a lot to him to play in Scotland. Way to go Andy! Muller is no slouch either.

Colin Says:

Murray’s Scots grandparents have had some recent coverage, partly because Grandpa is quite a character, but I’ve never seen any news about Andy’s other grandmother, who is English (a fact ignored by those loons who claim he hates England).

jane Says:

Awww, thanks for posting that margot. Made me cry. I think we may make it back to the UK and Scotland next summer. Hope so!

jane Says:

Big match for Fish!

jane Says:

Not exactly like the first set between Roddick/Ferrer but similar in that Fish was up a break, serving for the first set, and then Ferrer broke back. It’s looking like this one will go to a tiebreak as well.

jane Says:

Wow, Ferrer breaks again for the first set. He is a great returner and he puts a lot of pressure on the server. I feel sad for Mardy; he was serving for it. Well, it’s five sets, so he can turn it around.

Sean Randall Says:

Incredible. Ferrer wins four straight games from down 3-5 to take the set 7-5.

Mardy’s game completely fell apart in those last four games. I think he might have won 4 pts in that stretch. Awful stuff.

jane Says:

Fish has been into Ferrer’s service games early in this second set: 15-40, 30-40, etc. But he just hasn’t been able to break through yet.

dari Says:

Wow, just got home to see this marathon game.
So glad fish held, I’m really into this tie and hope so badly USA can make it happen! Go Mardy!

dari Says:

Awwwww, to the Murray video. Thanks for posting that, margot. That’s why I gotta see this guy win a major. He will not be able to make a speech when it happens!

jane Says:

Fish has to win this tiebreak; he doesn’t want Ferrer up two sets. Possibly, he can swing momentum with a tiebreak win and get the crowd back into it. They seem kind of quiet.

Super Says:

Ferrer has 2-0. Fish is in trouble. BTW, great article Sean! Well written and informative. It also includes that tennis-x spice that some like and some criticize (hey, you can’t please everyone!).

But back to the match. I’m impressed with Ferrer’s great service performance. I think that Spain is proud to have such a warrior on its side.

Fish is a great player, but the pressure is getting to him in this match.

Kimberly Says:

ugghhh, regroup, lets try again set 3. Unwatchable. Fish misses his first serve whenever he gets tight. For the first four service games he didn’t miss one. Then that crap.

Kimberly Says:

btw congrats to isner, i think thats his first title on grass

Golf is barely a Sport Says:

To come back from 2 sets down vs. one of the most fit players in the world … Could happen, but it won’t. Ferrer’s serve is benefiting from the fast surface too. Can’t win either way as a slow surface vs. Spain would be foolish. Maybe they could have played on grass or on wood.

jane Says:

Ferrer has definitely been the “steadier” one so far in this match; I am surprised by how muted the crowd have been overall. The loss of set one seemed to take them out of it, and they have never really been back into it since. Also, P-Mac looked like a more optimistic coach on the sidelines, or maybe more “fired up” anyhow. Courier seems a little resigned. Maybe it’s just in the shots I have seen.

dari Says:

Oh, cool isner won. Thanks, K. Congrats to him!
Better not be the only good news for USA this weekend!

dari Says:

Oh, cool isner won. Thanks, K. Congrats to him!
Better not be the only good news for USA this weekend!

Dan Martin Says:

Isner winning is cool. Maybe he can build to a big hard court season.

Golf is barely a Sport Says:

Isner won, Kulda looked like an upstart to watch … Fish was fileted and Roddick was rocked

Dan Martin Says:

Fish is hanging in there if he can get the 3rd set momentum could swing for this match with anticipation of a 5th match.

jane Says:

Fish had love-40 in the last game; it is true that Ferrer hit some a couple of big serves; however, Fish let some crucial chances get away.

jane Says:

And now Ferrer has love-40.

jane Says:

Back-to-back big holds by Ferrer and then equally impressive by Fish.

dari Says:

Long way to go, keep going Mardy!

jane Says:

If Fish can get this set, he has a really good chance. After all, in a fifth, anything can happen and the crowd would be fully back into it.

jane Says:

Hmm… not looking good. Fish has to break back or the match is over. He broke Ferrer a couple of times so it isn’t impossible or anything. But time is ticking.

jane Says:

Here is Fish’s chance: love-40.

dari Says:

Wish I was in Austin right now.
Hold, Mardy!

dari Says:

“Missed opportunities” will be the title of this movie.
I was hoping it would be “Miracle”

Dan Martin Says:

Close – Mardy played tough, and Ferrer gets the MOP award for this tie.

dari Says:

This was closer than 3-1 sounds.
The sets were very close in all the matches, just Spain playing better on big points.

Kimberly Says:

Will they still play te dead rubber, I imagine ticket holders still want to see Andy play one of the pretty boys?

Humble Rafa Says:

Kim: Deliciano wants you know that you were not brought up well, just like Justin Gimelstob.

Kimmi Says:

Congrats to Spain..tough team, even without rafa.

Congrats to Muzza and federer for winning their tie too.

Kimberly Says:

Humble rafa, ha ha, I guess no one taught me respect as a child.

dari Says:

Umm, anybody else hearing the Murray- Rasheed coaching rumors? Margot, Jane, can you confirm?

Kimmi Says:

dari – isn’t rasheed coaching la monf at the moment?

dari Says:

No, they just split, hence these rumors
Whatever, we will find out soon enough
I know so little about rasheed. If its true, I hope he helps Andy with that fh!

margot Says:

dari: French press are full rumours about Rachid coaching Andy, but I thought Andy was going to spend 6 weeks in the States with Cahill. He’s made terrific progress with Andy in the short time he’s worked with him so I hope that’s what’s going to happen. But whadda I know?

Lou Says:

Andre agassi is a true inspiration for all.What he did at the age of 29 is unbelievable. He won FO and came back to no 1 from 141 rank. Imagine he was of the same age as Fish now.

Read this great inspiring article on agassi’s life:
Can You Be Like AGASSI In Your Life?

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