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Yay! Though the Bryan Brothers suffered a historic loss today in Austin – losing a first set in DC competition for the first time ever – they still managed to pull out the must-win victory against the very game pairing of Verdasco/Granollers: 6-7(3), 6-4, 6-4, 6-4. I got a lump in my throat when the Wimbledon doubles champs played that awful first set tiebreaker – it had been bad enough watching Austin resident Andy Roddick lose yesterday’s second rubber vs. David Ferrer with a double fault. (I missed the epic first rubber between Mardy Fish and Feliciano Lopez that the surging Spaniard eventually put away.)
Thank goodness the Bros kept it together on Saturday. You’d have to be a pretty rabid fan of Team Espana not to relish Sunday’s set up at the University of Texas. Sure, the Americans haven’t come back from a 0-2 deficit since 1934, but they’re playing at home, and both Mardy and Andy have winning records vs. their respective fourth and fifth rubber opponents, David Ferrer and Feliciano Lopez. So Mardy has a chance at redemption and Andy has a chance to play hometown hero. Goose bumps, anyone?
Yes, said Mardy, after his tough loss yesterday (via DavisCup.com) :
“It’s probably the best atmosphere match I’ve ever played in,” Mardy said, “it’s incredible. I mean, it just gives you goose bumps.
“(At) 4‑5 in the fifth, something like that, and Jim (Courier) and I looked at each other. I said, ‘do you miss this?’ He said, ‘this is Davis Cup. This is why we play the game.’”
Play on, Mardy!
If Team U.S.A. manages to channel the spirit of ’34, they’ll play France in the semifinals – likely at Roland Garros. My personal dream team of Michael Llodra and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga completed the straight-rubbers victory over Germany today in Stuttgart with a win in the doubles. Richard Gasquet scored the first point with a remarkable five-set victory – from 2 sets to none down (!)- over Florian Mayer and Gael Monfils took care of business with a three setter vs. Philipp Kohlschreiber, who hasn’t seemed to recover from the rush of winning Halle. Also of note, Monfils has announced that he’s splitting from coach Roger Rasheed after three years of working together.
The Argentine team of del Potro, Monaco, Chela, and Schwank kept the dream of the country’s first DC title alive, completing a perfect 5-0 rout vs. the Kazakhstan team in Buenos Aires. Evgeny Korolev was the only player from the visiting team who managed to win a set (vs. Chela.) The Argentines await the winners of this weekend’s tie between Serbia vs. (Soderling-free) Sweden. Sweden is still alive after taking the doubles today, the team of Simon Aspelin and Robert Lindstedt beating the team of Nenad Zimonjic and Novak Djokovic (wow, Nole’s second defeat of the season!).
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But let’s just say the Argentine’s are realists – here’s Captain Tito Vazquez on the semifinals:
“The opponent is going to be Serbia, 100 per cent. The doubles was the only chance for Sweden to win a rubber. Definitely Serbia is going to be the winner, so we’re thinking about playing Serbia away. It’s a difficult match, a very solid team. We’ll try to do our best, give them a good fight. In order to win, we have to take our chances.”
Reportedly Argentine DC fanatic, David Nalbandian, is expected to recover from his adductor strain in time to join the team for the semis. If Tito’s prediction comes true, we’re going to be an absolute barn burner of a semifinal. I can’t wait!
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In Zonal Tie action, the Gold medal pair of Federer/Wawrinka completed a tidy 3-0 victory over Portugal today with a straight-sets win in the doubles. The Swiss doubles team, playing at home, played a reportedly “relaxed and entertaining” match filled smiles. “It’s not always easy to concentrate when you play with Roger,” Wawrinka said afterwards.
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Here are some photos of smiley, happy Roger, courtesy of MajorFedFan (thanks!):