Davis Cup Weekend Recap
By Steen Kirby, TennisEastCoast.com
Spain d. Austria 4-1
The Spanish Armada started off hot and finished strong, crushing the men in red with Nicolas Almagro notching a straight sets win over Austrian workhorse Jurgen Melzer and David Ferrer also taking out Austrian no. 2 Andreas Haider-Maurer in straights on Friday.
The Austrians only victory in the tie was in the doubles rubber where Oliver Marach and Alexander Peya were able to beat Marcel Granollers and Marc Lopez in 4 long sets. Any semblance of hope for the Austrians after the doubles win on Saturday was quickly erased by David Ferrer though, who beat Melzer in straights, followed by Almagro beating Peya in the dead rubber, and the Spanish cruise in the semis where they will face the USA at home.
USA d. France 3-2
John Isner carried the weekend for the US, taking out Gilles Simon in 3 sets on Friday and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in 4 sets today to clinch the tie for the US. The Bryans also came up big for the US, winning the doubles rubber over Julien Benneteau and Michael Llodra in straights on Saturday. The only weak link for the Americans was fill in Ryan Harrison, who lost both his matches, first to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who temporarily put the French up 1-0 early on in the tie on Friday, and later to Gilles Simon in the dead 5th rubber today.
It’s another big clay court and Davis Cup win for Isner, who is back in the top 10 again and will certainly be counted on to lead the US against Spain in the semis, which will most certainly be on clay as well. With the way Isner is playing right now, he is being mentioned by many as a possible French Open dark horse as well. It’s another Davis Cup disappointment for the French, though, who lost at home on their preferred surface in what was the final tie for their retiring captain Guy Forget. Jo Wilfried-Tsonga, who is back in the top 5 now, also heads into the Monte Carlo masters in a week disappointed.
Czech Republic d. Serbia 4-1
The Czechs took out the Serbians in Prague with victories by Tomas Berdych over a slumping Viktor Troicki in straights on Friday, a doubles victory by Berdych and Radek Stepanek on Saturday and a tie clinching victory by Berdych over Serbian no. 1 Janko Tipsarevic In straights today. Lukas Rosol beat Troicki today in straights in the dead rubber as well. This tie also got a lot of attention for what happened on Friday between Radek Stepanek and Janko Tipsarevic. Tipsarevic evened up the tie for a time beating Stepanek in a thrilling 5 sets 5-7 6-4 6-4 4-6 9-7, but it was a very cut throat match and at the end of Tipsarevic and Stepanek looked like they were going to have a physical altercation after an angry Stepanek flipped Tipsarevic the bird and called him a derogatory name. The drama continued into the pressers but it appears things have been sorted out between to the two guys and luckily (or unluckily depending on your disposition) no physical fighting occurred. The Czechs move on to face Argentina in the semis.
Argentina d. Croatia 4-1
The Argentines recovered from an opening rubber loss by the traditional Davis Cup top performer David Nalbandian to Croatian no. 1 Marin Cilic in a 5+ hours, 5 set, 200+ unforced errors match to beat the Croatians in Buenos Aires. Juan Martin Del Potro notched a straight sets win over fellow hard serving big man Ivo Karlovic in the other match on Friday, while Nalbandian and Eduardo Schwank won the doubles rubber in 5 sets over Cilic and Karlovic. Del Potro closed out the tie for Argentina, beating Cilic in straights while Juan Monaco won the dead rubber over Antonio Vecic with ease.
It was a couple of huge wins for Del Potro to carry his team through, even though he was suffering from severe allergy symptoms on Friday and their were questions as to whether he would be able to play. The Argentines will face the Czechs at home in what is sure to be a blockbuster semi final match up.
In other Davis Cup ties over the weekend, Uzbekistan led by Dennis Istomin beat India 3-2 (winning all the live rubbers but losing the final 2 dead rubbers), Australia, led by Delray finalist Marinko Matosevic and Bernard Tomic swept South Korea 5-0. Israel, led by Dudi Sela, beat Portugal 3-2, a talented Belgium beat a weakened Great Britain 4-1, the Netherlands led by Robin Haase swept Romania who suffered from a player boycott due to the dismissal of former captain Andrei Pavel (you can read more about it here) 5-0 and South Africa beat Blaz Kavic and Slovenia 4-1. All the winning squads mentioned above, in addition to either Chile or Uruguay and Brazil or Colombia (ties which still have live rubbers to play today) will move onto the world group playoffs for a spot in next years Davis Cup world group.