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Sunday, November 23, 2008

ANOTHER DAY TO CELEBRATE IN SPAIN

WELL DONE SPAIN

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Spain Wins Davis Cup 2008 Defeating Argentina 3-1

Spain's Verdasco beat Argentina's Acasuso in a 5 set fight to give Spain a 3-1 lead and the victory.

"España gana la Copa Davis luego de Derrotar a la Argentina"
Verdasco le gano a Acasuso en una batalla de 5 sets para darle a su pais una ventaja de 3-1 y la victoria definitiva.

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Spanish national team is the champion of the Davis Cup 2008 November 23
Uploaded by helena22herrera


Doubles in Argentina - Davis Cup November 22
David Nalbandian and Agustin Calleri vs. Fernando Verdasco and Feliciano Lopez

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Spainish Davis Cup 2008 team celebrate in the locker room
Uploaded by ninzninz2
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Rafael Nadal speaks about the Spanish win of the Davis Cup 2008

Rafa Nadal ha felicitado al equipo de la Copa Davis españols, tras la consecución de la Ensaladera. El mallorquín ha resaltado el buen hacer de Verdasco en el cuarto y quinto set, que le ha dado la victoria a España.


Translation by google
Rafa Nadal has congratulated the team for the Davis Cup españols, after achievement of the cup victory. The Mallorcan has highlighted the good work of Verdasco in the fourth and fifth set, which gave victory to Spain.

Pictures of the Davis Cup

Interview with Spanish Davis Cup captain - Emilio Sánchez Vicario


Emilio Sánchez Vicario speaks at Mar del Plata

Verdasco wins Davis Cup for Spain
Spain celebrate winning the Davis Cup
Spain clinched their third Davis Cup title having also triumphed in 200 and 2004

By David Ornstein 999999.gif

Fernando Verdasco came through a tense five-set encounter with Jose Acasuso to hand Spain a hard-earned victory over Argentina in the Davis Cup final.

Verdasco won the first set but Acasuso, standing in for Juan Martin del Potro, rallied to take the second and third.

Acasuso was backed by a boisterous home crowd in Mar del Plata but tired badly in the decider and Verdasco came through 6-3 6-7 (3-7) 4-6 6-2 6-1.

That put Spain 3-1 up with one rubber to spare in the best-of-five tie.

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It's like a dream come true and maybe the most beautiful day of my life - I tried my best all year to win the Davis Cup and I am happy for everyone in Spain
Fernando Verdasco
David Nalbandian was ready to take on Feliciano Lopez in what Argentina hoped would be the decisive rubber but the world number 11, a vocal supporter from the sidelines, did not get the chance.

The hosts were bidding for their first Davis Cup title after finishing runners-up to the United States in 1981 and Russia in 2006.

For Spain, who were champions in 2000 and 2004, Verdasco's win marked their third Davis Cup triumph and they achieved it without world number one Rafael Nadal.

"It's like a dream come true and maybe the most beautiful day of my life," said Verdasco. "I tried my best all year to win the Davis Cup and I am happy for everyone in Spain.

Fernando Verdasco
Verdasco showed impressive character to come from behind to win

"In the Davis Cup, you have to fight to the death and you always have to keep your hope of winning. This mental strength helped me win the match."

Spain captain Emilio Sanchez Vicario selected Verdasco ahead of the off-form David Ferrer and the decision paid dividends.

"It's amazing," said Sanchez Vicario. "It was an incredible match of ups and downs. In the end Fernando was the better player.

"It was very tough for us because Fernando was fighting with the crowd and not listening to us.

"But he has been playing at a higher level than Acasuso all season and is very strong physically. He wasn't even tired. We'll celebrate with a lot of wine."

Nadal, who was forced to pull out with a knee problem, added: "To win away in any tie is difficult. But at Argentina, in front of its public where they chose the surface, this is history. A moment like this is unforgettable."

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In the opening exchanges there was little to choose between world number 16 Verdasco and Acasuso, ranked 48 and called into action after Del Potro failed to overcome a thigh strain.

The Spaniard increased the pressure and broke to love for a 4-2 lead before serving out the set but Acasuso responded positively.

With Verdasco's serve starting to falter, Acasuso opened up a 2-0 lead in the second set but he was pegged back before an exchange of breaks resulted in a tie-break.

A combination of stunning groundstrokes and unforced errors by Verdasco enabled the 26-year-old to come through and he grew in confidence in the third set.

Umpire Jake Garner was forced to urge silence from the crowd with increasing regularity and it seemed that Verdasco was struggling to concentrate.

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When you lose such an important player like Juan Martin, it opens a big hole in the team - after that, things got complicated for us
Argentina captain Alberto Mancini
Breaks were exchanged before Verdasco drew level at 4-4 but, the very next game, Acasuso unleashed a stunning forehand winner to take a 5-4 lead before serving out the set.

However, in the face some taxing baseline rallies Acasuso began to tire and Verdasco was able to assert his authority once more.

He deservedly broke for a 4-2 lead before serving out the fourth set and, with Acasuso suffering from a stomach muscle problem, opened up an early advantage in the fifth.

The Spaniard never looked back and served out to prompt wild scenes of celebration among the Spanish team and their supporters.

Argentina captain Alberto Mancini was left to rue the withdrawal of Del Potro saying: "After that, things got complicated for us."

No-Show Nalbandian Faces Fine

By Alberto Amalfi
Sunday, November 23, 2008

The drums had died down, the stunned crowd shuffled out of the Estadio Islas Malvinas arena, but the contentious clash continued inside the Argentine locker room.
On one of the most boisterous and bizarre days in recent Davis Cup final history, the screaming didn't stop when Argentina and Spain left the court in Mar del Plata today.

Moments Feliciano Lopez and Fernando Verdasco roared back from a 1-5 hole in the third-set tiebreak to stun David Nalbandian and Agustin Calleri and shock the Argentine faithful into silent submission, 5-7, 7-5, 7-6(5), 6-3 to give Spain a 2-1 lead in this best-of-five match Davis Cup final, Argentina's top two stars reportedly went at it in the locker room.

Behind closed doors in the locker room afterward, Nalbandian and Juan Martin del Potro apparently got into an argument with Calleri stepping between the two men before tensions escalated, sources tell Tennis Week.Spain is now one win removed from capturing its first Davis Cup since 2004 when it defeated the USA on the red clay of Seville, while Argentine captain Alberto Mancini is left to try to stich together some unity in a squad that seems to be coming apart at the seams as they prepare for the final day of play.

There is growing speculation Argentina has become a team in turmoil.
Initially, local media reported Nalbandian and Calleri had a dispute in the locker room, however sources tell Tennis Week it was actually Nalbandian and del Potro who clashed immediately after the match and Calleri stepped in to try to keep the peace before the argument escalated into a potential physical confrontation.

Nalbandian left the arena without participating in the mandatory post-match press conference and faces a fine from the International Tennis Federation that could be as much as $10,0000.
The Argentine Tennis Federation would not confirm these reports; I am trying to confirm them. Mancini, who started the week proclaiming it was conceivable his squad could sweep every match, was left to publicly pick up the pieces, appearing at the post-match press conference seated next to Calleri as Nalbandian departed without a word.

"He (Nalbandian) left because he didnt feel well," said Mancini, trying to quell rumors his star singles players are at odds. "I think he didnt feel well physically, but more emotionally. Its not a muscular problem or anything. The team is for sure a bit wounded."

The rumor is Nalbandian was upset that del Potro went to Shanghai to play the Tennis Masters Cup last week rather than remain in Argentina to prepare for the final. After del Potro's loss to Lopez in yesterday's second singles match, sources say Nalbandian made it exceedingly clear to both del Potro and del Potro's father (reportedly using blunt language) that del Potro's decision to play Shanghai was costing the team. Stung by Nalbandian's words, del Potro is rumored to have criticized Nalbandian for his performance afer today's doubles loss with Calleri stepping between the two before the dispute escalated.

As we work to sort out the facts of the friction, clearly the team is at an emotional breaking point after enduring one of the most devastating defeats in the nation's Davis Cup history. The Nalbandian-del Potro dispute is reminiscent of the nation's 1981 team that featured a feuding Guillermo Vilas and Jose-Luis Clerc, who were barely on speaking terms at some points yet still reached the final, falling to a John McEnroe-led United States' squad.

Mancini was left to do damage control and emphasize the positive Argentina has won 13 consecutive home ties in a streak spanning a decade and beat Russia by virtue of Juan Martin del Potro's win over Igor Andreev in the decisive fifth match in the September semifinals.
Del won a decisive fifth match a little more than two months ago, can he make the fifth match a meaningful one tomorrow? And if the reports of in-fighting are true can both del Potro and Nalbandian put their differences aside and try to deliver in two of the most important matches in the nation's Davis Cup history.

"The boys are under a lot of pressure and it's not easy to deal with," Mancini said. "All the matches have been very even. I think we had a little bit of bad luck."

Argentina is playing for its first Davis Cup championship in history but now has no margin for error. The task is straightforward: win both of Sunday's singles history and the Argentines will taste victory from the Cup for the first time in history. Lose both matches and Davis Cup dreams will be shattered on the final Sunday for the second time in three years. In the 2006 final in Moscow, Calleri and Nalbandian lost the double s match to Russia's Dmitry Tursunov and Marat Safin, 6-2, 6-3, 6-4, as Argentina fell behind 2-1. Nalbandian leveled the tie defeating Nikolay Davydenko, but Safin scored a 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 7-6(5) victory over Jose Acasuso in the decisive match to clinch the Cup for Russia.

Adding another degree of difficulty to Argentina's challenge is the fact that del Potro, who is scheduled to play Spain's David Ferrer in Sunday's first reverse singles match, is limping. Del Potro has been bothered by a cracked toe nail on his big toe for the better part of a month and strained his right leg lunging for a wide shot in the fourth set of his singles setback to Lopez on Friday.

The pressure now shifts firmly to Mancini's shoulders: does the captain start the ninth-ranked del Potro and hope that his 6-foot-5 frame can withstand the pain, pressure of the moment and a consistent foe in Ferrer, who is exceptionally quick and will undoubtedly try to extend the big man in lengthy baseline exchanges to wear him down? Or does he take his chance with the 48th-ranked Acasuso, who may well still be haunted by falling to Safin in the fifth match in Moscow two years ago?

Tennis Week contributing writer Alberto Amalfi is in Mar del Plata covering the Davis Cup final for this web site.

bye


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