Underdogs USA looking to end Spanish Davis Cup dominance
WITH Andy Roddick retired, Mardy Fish unavailable and Spain apparently unbeatable at home on clay, the United States look distant second favourites when the two nations clash in the Davis Cup semi-final in Gijon today.
Then again, few fancied their chances of beating a Switzerland team that included Roger Federer in round one or France in the quarter-finals.
Argentina, with Juan Martin del Potro and Juan Monaco, will also start as favourites in their semi-final against the Czech Republic in Buenos Aires.
The Czechs, including in-form Tomas Berdych, will be looking to repeat their 1980 victory over Argentina in Buenos Aires which culminated in them winning the trophy.
While Spain are overwhelming favourites in their match, there are still a few reasons for optimism for the Americans.
When nations lose their top players, captain’s hope that one of the underlings steps up to the plate and in the case of Spain and the United States, their wishes have been granted.
Spain are missing the injured Rafa Nadal but David Ferrer and Nicolas Almagro have filled the gap while John Isner has emerged for Jim Courier’s side.
World No 10 Isner has a 4-0 record in Davis Cup singles this season, including the scalps of Federer and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.
“He’s beaten some substantial players this year,” said Courier who played 14 ties for the US.
Ferrer will open the tie against Sam Querrey today with a 14-0 singles record in the Davis Cup on clay before Isner takes on Almagro at the Parque Hermanos Castro court.
Spain captain Alex Corretja, however, expects a tough match: “It’s not going to be easy. They have a captain like Courier with a great deal of experience.”
Argentina, the only one of the semi-finalists without a title having lost in four previous finals, will be hoping that Del Potro overcomes his wrist injury worries and that this could finally be their year.
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