rediff.com

NewsApp (Free)

Read news as it happens
Download NewsApp

Available on  

Rediff News  All News 
Rediff.com  » Sports » Davis Cup: Lopez and Ferrer give Spain 2-0 Cup lead over the U.S.

Davis Cup: Lopez and Ferrer give Spain 2-0 Cup lead over the U.S.

July 09, 2011 15:30 IST

Spain shrugged off the absence of Rafa Nadal to take a 2-0 lead over hosts the United States in their Davis Cup World Group quarter-final after gutsy wins by Feliciano Lopez and David Ferrer on Friday.

Left-hander Lopez set the tone when he battled past American Mardy Fish 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, 6-7, 8-6 in the opening match on the hard indoor surface at the Frank Erwin Center.

World number six Ferrer then followed suit by beating 10th-ranked hometown favourite Andy Roddick 7-6, 7-5, 6-3 in front of raucous but ultimately disappointed partisan crowd.

Lopez, who like Fish reached the last eight at Wimbledon earlier this month, sealed victory with a whistling backhand crosscourt pass after a bruising encounter lasting almost four hours.

"This win means a lot for me," the pony-tailed Spaniard said courtside after beating the American world number eight for the first time in their last four meetings.

"I've been playing good the last couple of months.

"These kinds of matches are very special to play. Against Mardy here, in this tie, it was a very difficult match for me so I am so happy to be able to win after four hours or so."

Fish saved two match points against his 31st-ranked opponent when trailing 4-5 in the final set but was unable to save a third on serve in the 14th game after he pushed a forehand wide after a protracted rally.

Lopez, who repeatedly wagged his finger when any of his shots sailed wide, pumped his right fist in celebration before commiserating with Fish and then embracing each of his team mates on the bench.

Ferrer scraped through a marathon first set against Roddick, saving three set points before winning the tiebreaker 11-9.

He then trailed the big-serving American 0-3 in the second before fighting back to grab a two-set lead.

TIGHTENED GRIP

With Ferrer returning superbly and controlling most of the rallies with his slick footwork and fluent shot-making, the Spaniard tightened his grip in the third as Roddick faded.

The American was broken in the seventh and ninth games, double-faulting twice in succession to end the match.

"When I won the first set, I had more confidence with my game," Ferrer said. "I played with more power and consistency and I am very happy for that because I played really well for the rest of the match.

"I know the key was in my return because with Andy if I didn't return good, it's impossible to beat him."

American twins Bob and Mike Bryan, the world's top-ranked team, are scheduled to meet Lopez and Fernando Verdasco in Saturday's doubles in the best-of-five tie.

Fish will then take on Ferrer before Roddick faces Lopez in Sunday's reverse singles.

Spain have won the coveted Davis Cup four times, and twice in the last three years, but they are without the services of the talismanic Nadal in Austin.

The world number two pulled out of the Davis Cup clash due to "inconsiderate" scheduling.

"Even without Rafa, we still have great players," Lopez said. "The spirit is great and we fight till the end. Our mentality is great for Davis Cup.

"We still have the motivation to win more and more Davis Cups because it has become so popular now in Spain, this competition.

Source:
© Copyright 2013 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Reuters content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Reuters. Reuters shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.