Spain vs. USA
The Plaza de Toros Las Ventas is as fantastic as we thought it would be. The muddy red clay, the raucous crowd filling the stands, the curved shadow creeping across the court and the spindly arched collonade encircling it all – it’s so poetic! And did you hear what the commentators were saying about the acoustics? “Made to hear the snorting of the bull.” As if Rafa needs amplification! They need to play a major here – how about the French Open final?
If Querrey extends Rafa to four sets on hard court and clay, does that mean he’ll beat the Spaniard on carpet? Something to look forward to during the long yawn of the indoor season.
Roddick vs. Ferrer was a classic D Cup match. Long, hard-fought and won by the crowd. How else could Davis Cup warrior Andy Roddick lose from 2 sets up, especially when he was playing so well? I guarantee you, if this match was played on clay in the U.S.A., we’d be 1-1 going into the third rubber.
Rubbers! Tee hee!
Record of the USA when down 0-2: 1-31. It’s not looking good, but I still have a glimmer of hope for the doubles and then the miraculous Andy victory over Rafa in the fourth rubber. I know it’s crazy, but wouldn’t it be thrilling?
Random observation: The Spanish team is the best looking team in Davis Cup history. Find hotter, I dare you!
Speaking of hot, Fernando Verdasco wins best cheerleader of the day award. I was surprised at how nonchalant both teams behaved during the last couple sets of the Ferrer/Roddick match, considering how close it was. During one crucial point for Andy, only PMac and Doug Spreen were on their feet clapping. But Fernando was jumping up and down at every changeover, cheering, clapping and sending good vibes David’s way. I hope he tired himself out a little bit for the doubles tomorrow, when he and F-Lo take on Fish/Bryan.
Roger’s teammates call him God, Murray pretends to choke and we get closer to a Spain/Argentina final – get the scoop by clicking the “Read More” link below.
Argentina vs. Russia
I’m cheering for Argentina in this semifinal. Not that they need me, judging from the team’s dominant performance today against the Russians. Nalbandian took out Andreev and del Potro spanked Davydenko – both in straight sets. And sorry to say, but I’m assuming Spain is clinching the other semi, meaning that we’ll be treated to an Argentina/Spain final, which is a pretty good consolation prize. What a battle that will be!
Why does Nalbandian play so great in Davis Cup even when he’s been playing badly all season long? He is such an enigma – very much like Marat Safin (who isn’t on the Russian team this time), except without the two majors. Watching him in his full, red-faced glory, smacking backhand returns at wicked angles or passing down the line, I think “best player never to win a major.” What do you think guys and gals, is it too late for our favorite barrel chested freedom fighter? Or is Davis Cup as “major” as you can get?
The Rest of the World
In non-televised D Cup matches, Janko Tipsarevic joined Ferrer in coming from two sets down, but he was playing a Slovak named Lukas Lacko who is ranked 240 in the world. Novak Djokovic beat Dominik Hrbaty in straights.
Meanwhile, at Wimbledon, the Austrians and British are tied 1-1. Jurgen Melzer beat Alex Bogdanovich in four sets and Andy Murray took out Alexander Peya in an easy three. There was a little competitive posturing after Murray’s win, when he made the international sign for choking – a sarcastic reaction to Melzer’s earlier comments about how the Brit would have the weight of expectations on him during this tie. Andy said post match: “I was told that I wasn’t going to be able to handle the pressure very well out there. But Jurgen was the one who struggled to handle it today in the first match.”
In Lausanne, Switzerland, birthplace of Stan Wawrinka (“that makes it extra special,” joked a smitten Roger Federer), the home team goes into the third rubber with a 2-0 lead. Stan needed five sets to overcome Belgian Steve Darcis, Roger Federer only needed half the time to take out Kristof Vliegen in straights. Tomorrow may see a reprise of the Gold medal doubles pairing of Wawrinka/Federer, who will also be honored by the city before the match, although there is still the possibility of Yves Allegro subbing for Stan, especially considering Stan’s probable exhaustion. Teammate/bench warmer Stephane Bohli is a hard core Fedophile, judging from his tshirt.
Oh, and it’s nice to see Mario Ancic back (and winning!) after missing the U.S. Open because of a mono relapse. He and Dr. Ivo led the Croatian team to a 2-0 lead over Brazil.
My only complaint so far? The crap-on-crap broadcast quality. I. Just. Don’t. Understand. It’s like twenty years of technological improvements have been forgotten or ignored. Yes, I know we’ve gone over this before, but isn’t that the point? Everyone knows it sucks yet nothing changes. It’s inevitably bad and frustrating, like that once-a-decade trip to the DMV.
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Images courtesy of the Davis Cup website.