I knew this was coming as soon as I saw the name Jose Acasuso on the scoreboard. No offense to the natty-haired Argentine, but he hasn’t exactly been on the radar screen this year. And being thrust into a must-win fourth rubber in the Davis Cup final, after Nalbandian and Calleri lost the doubles yesterday, couldn’t have been the ideal way to test out his game. He played valiantly just to stretch Fernando Verdasco to five sets. But Verdasco held tough (not a habitual occurence for him) and clinched the 2008 Davis Cup for Spain.
What a triumph for the team’s heroes, Fernando Verdasco and Feliciano Lopez, who are ranked 16 and 31 in the world, respectively. By winning both their singles and doubles matches in the highest-of-pressure situations, they’ll now be thought of as battle-tested warriors instead of flashy talents with the collective mental-toughness of Rafa’s big toe. This was no cakewalk, after all: they played Argentina, in Argentina, and without Rafael Nadal. It will be interesting to see if this success can spur one or both of them to greater personal achievements in 2009.
Fernando already feels like a Major champ:
“This is the most beautiful day of my life. This is the most important match and win of my life. I will always remember this. It’s like winning a Grand Slam.”
Photo: Paul Zimmer