December 6, 2009

Spanish Sweep

Spain may have clinched their second straight Davis Cup title on Saturday, but their follow up performance today showed that, London results notwithstanding, they are the tennis force to be reckoned with.

Rafael Nadal kicked off the quest to repeat with a quick and easy win over world #20 Tomas Berdych. After keeping it close in the first set, he only ceded two games in the back half of his straight set victory to give his country the 1-0 lead.

Things got a little tense in the second rubber, though -- I was admittedly surprised that captain Albert Costa chose to play David Ferrer in the second singles spot instead of Fernando Verdasco, and at first it looked as though the choice would cost him. Ferrer fell to a 0-2 set deficit against Radek Stepanek, a man who'd already played a marathon six-hour match against Ivo Karlovic in the semis back in September. But David wasn't ready to succumb quite yet -- he battled back to even things up and took the deciding set to 8-6 before giving Spain the big lead going into the weekend.

When Verdasco teamed with Feliciano Lopez to dismiss the doubles team of Berdych and Stepanek on Saturday, Spain ran off with an insurmountable 3-0 lead. But just to keep things tidy, both Nadal and Ferrer won their last two matches, knocking out the little-known Jan Hajek and doubles ace Lukas Dlouhy, respectively.

The win this weekend gave Spain their fourth Davis Cup title -- all of which were won during this decade. It was also the first time a team has repeated since Sweden did so in 1997-98. But, lest Spain get too sure of itself, the team has drawn Switzerland in the first round of next year's World Group draw. How interesting would it be to see Rafa and Roger Federer face off in a Davis Cup rubber? While you still have to like Spain as the overall favorite in that match-up, it could very well be a short-lived reign for the two-time defending champions.

So, here's hoping they enjoy this victory as long as they can!

No comments: