Sunday, September 18, 2011

Argentina Makes the Davis Cup Final

(EFE)
It could've turned into an epic, this last day of the Davis Cup semifinal at Belgrade. And it could have been another one of those ties where in the end, everything depends on David, playing the decisive fifth rubber. But today, the decision came prematurely, an hour and 32 minutes into the fourth rubber between Novak Djokovic and Juan Martin Del Potro. At 7-6(5), 3-0 for Del Potro, Djokovic had to retire with an injury. An abrupt and unfortunate end for this tie. But for Argentina the decisive third point and a place in this year's Davis Cup final against Spain (December 2-4), which will take place in Spain and on clay.

It was a gamble that the Serbian team took with Djokovic playing this match. After having arrived at Belgrade only on Thursday and carrying the injury that flared up again today (source). But with Serbia down 2-1 and merely one defeat away from losing the tie, the team thought that he'd have a better chance to beat Del Potro than Troicki, despite not being fully fit. A fateful miscalculation.
At the same time, Djokovic's injury spared David having to play a live fifth rubber. And although he would've certainly liked to clinch the tie for his team, perhaps it's better that it didn't come to this. As according to Fue Buena, quoting Tito Vázquez, David still hasn't completely recovered from "that problem with his neck" (which occurred during his match against Troicki).

Already during the first set today, Djokovic repeatedly showed signs of being in pain and received treatment during changeovers. A very difficult situation for him - but also for Juan Martin Del Potro, playing against an obviously ailing opponent. Watching the match, I was impressed with the way Delpo kept his focus and also with how well he played. And I was not the only one:
It was incredible. I watched it all in the locker room. How I suffered...  Juan Martin had chances because he served very well. For Djokovic it got more and more difficult. He [Delpo] played an unbelievable match, basically perfect. Luckily, he won because we came here with the dream of making it.
(Juan Foglia/Clarin)
And now, they have made it. Another Davis Cup final for Argentina, the fourth one in total. And the third one for David, after 2006 (where he won his two rubbers against Russia in Moscow but the other three were lost) and, of course, the notorious final at Mar del Plata 2008. That year, it was also Delpo who won the decisive rubber for Argentina in the semifinal (against Russia). Before what was supposed to be Argentina's unique chance of finally winning the Davis Cup, at home and against a Spanish team without Rafael Nadal, turned into a battle among the Argentine players.
Back then, they went into the final as the favourites to win the title. This time, with the final taking place in Spain and on clay, they're going to be the underdogs, especially if Rafael Nadal is going to be there. But perhaps, that can also be their chance.

Finally, here's an interview with David after Del Potro's victory:


First comes the part I've quoted above, about having watched the match in the locker room. Then: Another final for him. It gets more difficult each time. So now they'll have to travel to Spain at the end of the year.
He's happy about the way the whole week went, about the work they did. He thinks that everybody gave everything in all of the matches. They were expecting a very tough day today, a very close one, but Delpo managed to get the last point. Though it's a shame, the way it happened with Djokovic's injury.
Asked whether he has to change his travel plans (now that he'll have a shorter off-season) - the final changes his schedule. But he's happy and right now it's time to enjoy the victory.

12 comments:

  1. I remember Ljubicic had some neck thing in the 2005 DC final and lost the 4th rubber to Hrbaty.Those things are nasty,they only last for a few days,but they hurt.Good he didnt have to play today.

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  2. Yeah, I've had problems like that myself, in the past. And it's no fun at all. Even had to wear a neck brace once. Apparently, with David it's not that bad. And now he gets two weeks off so I guess he'll be fine.

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  3. what's his next tournament?

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  4. When looking through articles I stumbled across that pic of David and Delpo: http://staticmd1.lavozdelinterior.com.ar/files/imagecache/lvi_player_home_preset_642_361/nota_periodistica/nalbandian-delpotro_0.jpg
    It was with that article (http://mundod.lavoz.com.ar/?q=tenis/nalbandian-espana-sera-igual-o-mas-dificil-que-esto).

    Wonderful weekend for the Argies, even if the end is not perfect that way with retiring but I believe they would have rocked it anyway.

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  5. Yeah, that pic is from the 2008 DC SF against Russia. David won the first point against Andreev, lost the doubles (with Cañas; it took ages) and then also lost on the third day to Davydenko before Delpo saved the day by winning the fifth rubber. That pic is from the celebrations that followed. After David survived playing on all three days - with his hip injury.

    And all about David's schedule as always on the Schedule Page

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  6. Ah thank you Julia! I didn't realize that it isn't new being posted with all the news articles. Would have been nice.

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  7. They often do that in the Argie press, using old pics with new articles. ;)

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  8. David just went up 11 places on the rankings :)

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  9. I have a feeling that , if David wins the Davis Cup, he could feel that it's the time to retire.
    He has always been that kind of guy.

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  10. He will not retire, he will concentrate more on the atp circuit .hope they win it this year

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  11. Next year is Olympic year, so it's unlikely that David would just pack it in at this point.

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