“I don’t know if you can draw up a tougher scenario than playing Nadal on clay, away, in front of his fans. Even Roger on grass you can serve and the points are a bit quicker. This is probably the toughest scenario there is.“
So said Andy Roddick after his straight set defeat (6-4, 6-0, 6-4) to Rafael Nadal today in the Davis Cup semi-final in Madrid. With his win, Rafa earned Spain the crucial third point of the weekend and now his country will be meeting Argentina in November’s final. It’s worth noting that Rafa pulled this off despite suffering a thigh/buttock strain that was bad enough to make him consider not playing today. The guy needs a break!
The Argentina vs. Russia semifinal was extended all the way to a live fifth rubber, thanks to the hard work of Nikolay Davydenko, who fought hard to win the fouth rubber against Davis Cup stalwart David Nalbandian. Del Potro saved the day for the home team in the penultimate match, easily taking out Igor Andreev and showing remarkable confidence in a high pressure situation. I love the photo of Nalbandian, above, gazing at del Potro as if the teenager had just rescued him from a burning building. “My hero!”
So what surface do you think Argentina’s picking for the final? My guess is an ice-quick indoor hard court, which is great for Nalbandian and shouldn’t bother del Potro. Anything to avoid playing Nadal on clay, right?
The final weekend begins on November 21.
Team Espana photo: Paul Zimmer
Team Argentina photo: Sergio Llamera