Well, if the start of March is indication of anything, we should be in for a great month of tennis. And it began with this weekend’s thrilling Davis Cup action which was arguably the best, most dramatic first round in quite a long time.
Even though defending champs Switzerland were without their superstars Roger Federer and Stan Wawrinka, the Swiss still managed to extend it to a fifth before David Goffin came out of the training room and won it for Belgium.
And that wasn’t the only live fifth rubber played of the eight ties. There were three more.
Down 2-1 at home, Kazakhstan swept the Italians Sunday in singles as Kukushkin beat Seppi to tie it at 2-2 and then Aleksandr Nedovyesov stunned Fabio Fognini 7-5 in the fifth for the win!
Home standing Canada also found itself in trouble after Kei Nishikori took down Milos Raonic 6-4 in the fifth to set up the decider, but Vasek Pospisil breezed past Go Soeda to end Japan’s hopes.
And down in South America, history was made as the upstart Brazilians were on the brink of clinching a big win over rival Argentina but Leo Mayer hung on to beat Joao Souza 15-13 in the fifth in what was the longest Davis Cup match in history at 6:43, to send it to a fifth. Federico Delbonis seized the opportunity winning the finale over Thomaz Bellucci in a 2-day match heldover due to darkness.
Serbia, my pick to win it in November, rolled past Croatia who were without Marin Cilic. France also showed their depth beating Germany. Australia made the most of their long trip by tripping up the Czechs who were without Tomas Berdych. And then there was the U.S.
I thought going in the Brits were the favorites because I felt Andy Murray would win both his singles and then James Ward would nudge Donald Young in a very nervy decider. But Ward put a stop to that plan by coming back to beat John Isner on Friday in the most stunning single-match result of the weekend!
Woe is America.
With Isner really struggling as he nears 30, it’s not a good time to be a fan of American men’s tennis. Maybe we can enlist some women to play?
Moving on to what’s ahead. Tomorrow the women’s Indian Wells draw begins with lead dog Serena Williams returning for the first time in 14 years. That’s good to see and I’ll be interested to see the reaction when she takes the court Friday night.
The men’s draw is out later tonight. They start up on Thursday with the seeds on the weekend.
The Big Four – Djokovic, Federer, Murray and Rafael Nadal – will all be there along with Kei Nishikori, Stan Wawrinka, Milos Raonic and even Marin Cilic who is expected to make his 2015 debut. So if the guys that played aren’t too tired from Davis Cup, it should be a good event.
Unfortunately, we did see a bunch of withdrawals including Juan Martin Del Potro, but hopefully the bleeding stops there.
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