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Fri Apr 18 17:41:12 SAST 2014

Spain reach Davis Cup final against Czechs

Roland Lloyd Parry, Sapa-AFP | 17 September, 2012 10:010 Comments
Spain v USA - Davis Cup Semi Final - Day Three
David Ferrer of Spain celebrates his win over John Isner of the United States during day three of the Davis Cup semifinal at the Parque Hermanos Castro on September 16, 2012 in Gijon, Spain
Image by: Manuel Queimadelos Alonso / Getty Images

Spain reached their fourth Davis Cup final in five years after David Ferrer gave them a 3-1 semi-final victory over the United States by beating John Isner 6-7 (3/7), 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 on Sunday.

Unimpeded by the absence of injured Rafael Nadal, Spain will travel to the Czech Republic for the final on November 16-18, after the Czechs defeated Argentina in Buenos Aires.

“This is a dream for me — another Davis Cup final,” Ferrer said after his win, which delighted the rowdy home crowd cheering for their beloved “Ferru”.

“It was unbelievable, the atmosphere supported me the whole match,” he added.

The United States had kept the tie alive against the five-time champions with a doubles victory by twins Bob and Mike Bryan on Saturday, but US Open semi-finalist Ferrer, on his favourite red clay, prevailed over Isner, the world number 10.

The six-foot, nine-inch (206-centimetre) American beat Ferrer in a tie-break in the first set but failed to cement his lead in the second.

The Spaniard dominated the following three sets, powering out of sight in the fourth, his deft returns outfoxing the flagging American who had already fallen to Nicolas Almagro in a four-hour battle on Friday.

“It’s disappointing. The Spanish team was just too good,” Isner said after the defeat to Ferrer.

“I had some momentum and a chance to break him and I didn’t. He raised his game quite a bit in the second set and throughout the rest of the match.”

Ferrer tamed Isner’s formidable serve and aggressive style with precision returns and passing shots and capitalised on a slew of unforced errors.

“I’m playing the best season of my career, so I’m really happy,” Ferrer said after Sunday’s match. “John Isner is a very good player and this tie was never easy.” 

It was Ferrer’s 16th Davis Cup victory in a row on clay and Spain’s 24th home Davis victory in a row. The final in November will be the ninth they have reached in the competition.

Nadal could make a return for the final in November if he recovers from the knee injury that kept him out of the Olympics and the US Open this summer, but Spain’s team coach Corretja avoided speculating about it.

“We will monitor the players over the coming weeks, talk to all those we think appropriate, and go and see what condition they are in and then choose the players we think appropriate,” Corretja said after Sunday’s victory.

“We always hope to count on everyone and obviously Rafa is the same as everyone else.” 

“Spanish tennis has some very good players — this is a good generation led by Rafa Nadal,” said Ferrer, who is currently number one in Spain in Nadal’s absence.

“I hope he gets better soon because he is really fundamental for us.” 

Nadal later tweeted his congratulations to his teammates: “Great match of Ferrer! Congrats team!! Now let’s go to the final!!.” 

The United States — the most successful team overall in Davis Cup history with 32 victories — admitted they were not favourites when they came to Spain for the tie.

But under the captaincy of former Grand Slam-winner Jim Courier, they had chalked up back-to-back away wins in Switzerland (5-0), where Isner shocked Roger Federer, and France (3-2), where he defeated Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.

The fifth match of the Spain-USA tie in Gijon, due to be played between Nicolas Almagro and Sam Querrey, was called off after Ferrer’s victory determined the tie.

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