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USA Heads To Spain

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

American James Blake defeated Richard Gasquet 67 (4) 64 64 in the fifth rubber to give USA a 4-1 victory over France in the 2008 Davis Cup by BNP Paribas quarterfinals. In Sunday’s opener, the US No. 1 Andy Roddick decimated Paul-Henri Mathieu 62 63 62 in 1 hr 37 minutes to seal the win for the Americans. The No. 10 ranked Gasquet, who had not played on Friday due to injury, was a replacement for Michael Llodra.

Record crowds

Yesterday’s win by the Americans sets up a Davis Cup Semifinal against Spain in September. Spain, who defeated Germany 4-1 in Bremen, will host the tie but the venue has not as yet been named. Certainly the Spanish will choose a slow clay court not only to play to their own strengths but also to confound the Americans.

The last time the USA played in Spain was the 2004 Davis Cup by BNP Paribas Final, won by the home team in Seville in front of 27,200 fans daily. This was the largest recorded attendance for any sanctioned tennis event in history.

Andy Roddick is hopeful that the US teams chances have improved since 2004. “Yeah, it’s a different tie,” said Roddick. “That being said, Nadal has won a couple clay court matches since then also. I’m sure he’s licking his chops because it’s gonna be nice conditions for him. So he’ll show.”

"I still have a lot to prove on clay" - Roddick

“I’d love to say I’ve improved a ton,” added Roddick. “I think I’ve become a better Davis Cup player. I still have a lot to prove on clay. And I’m not going to try to tell you that I’m fixed and great on clay and all this stuff. But I’m better in Davis Cup situations and I’m better in away tie situations. So, you know, that’s not gonna hurt.”

“I hoped we would have the chance to play Spain,” said American Captain Patrick McEnroe. “It’s the ultimate challenge, on slow red clay. I think we can do it. We’re the underdogs but I welcome the opportunity.”

Posted by Shelia

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