Davis Cup: Spain up on U.S. 2-0
Published 12:00 am Friday, September 19, 2008
MADRID, Spain ó For a while, one set to be precise, the United States could entertain the tantalizing thought of a big upset in the Davis Cup.
But Sam Querrey’s lead over top-ranked Rafael Nadal lasted only so long. And the Spaniards were playing on their beloved clay and before a crowd of some 16,000 in a bullfighting arena.
The result was a 2-0 lead for Spain in Friday’s semifinal, leaving the defending champion Americans in a big hole entering doubles in the best-of-five series.
“Obviously we’re up against it, but we knew that coming here,” U.S. captain Patrick McEnroe said. “We’re going to try and win the doubles tomorrow and that’s it. We’ll give it a shot.”
Nadal dropped the first set in the opening singles but recovered to win 6-7 (5), 6-4, 6-3, 6-4 over an opponent making his Davis Cup debut and filling in for James Blake. David Ferrer completed the hosts’ perfect day with a 7-6 (5), 2-6, 1-6, 6-4, 8-6 victory against Andy Roddick.
Spain hasn’t lost a clay-court Davis Cup series in nine years. It can secure its sixth Davis Cup final appearance Saturday when Fernando Verdasco and Feliciano Lopez face Mike Bryan and Mardy Fish.
“We have to be careful,” Spain captain Emilio Sanchez Vicario said.
The winner will play Argentina or Russia for the title. Argentina leads 2-0 at home behind victories by David Nalbandian and Juan Martin del Potro. Argentina lost the 2006 final to Russia.
The U.S. has a record 32 Davis Cup titles but is using a makeshift squad. It has rallied to victory only once in 32 tries when trailing 2-0, and that was 74 years ago.
The pressure to beat perhaps the world’s best clay-court team falls to Bryan and Fish. Fish is a replacement for Bob Bryan, who had played 16 straight ties with twin brother Mike before this series.