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Nadal Topples Querrey To Put The USA In An Initial Davis Cup Hole

Friday, September 19, 2008

Black Tennis Pro's 2008 Davis Cup Semifinal Sam Querrey
World No. 1 Rafael Nadal was made to work hard by Davis Cup debutant Sam Querrey before wrapping up a 67 64 63 64 victory for Spain in the opening rubber of its semifinal tie against Spain in Madrid.

The 6’6” American matched the world No. 1 for the first two sets and then briefly threatened to extend the match into a fifth set before Nadal finally subdued him to put Spain ahead.

Nadal started slowly and was not as composed as usual. He struggled to put the ball out of reach of Querrey, who played thoughtful and patient tennis, choosing the moment when to strike with his big serve or an aggressive forehand and retrieving all that the world No.1 could throw at him.

“I’m happy to win. With his serve, it wasn’t easy to take control of the points,” said Nadal.

Few Nerves From Querrey

Querrey certainly wasn’t overawed on his debut and benefitted from the extra kick that Madrid’s altitude was giving to his serve and groundstrokes.

“I think I showed him that I can play a little bit,” said Querrey afterwards. “I played well. It was a tough four sets.”

The initial exchanges were tentative as the two players adjusted to the conditions in the Plaza de Toros Las Ventas, which was bathed in sunshine, noise – thanks to a four-man band playing in the stand between points - and the red and yellow national colours of Spain.

The two players matched each other through the first set as neither was able to set up a break point opportunity. Querrey earned the first minibreak in the tiebreak with a forehand drop volley at full stretch. Nadal got back on serve but then double faulted to set up two set points for USA. The four-time Roland Garros champion saved the first but on the second, but netted on the second of two huge forehands from Querrey.

Nadal On Backfoot

Nadal, who had dropped just three sets in his eight previous Davis Cup victories, was pushed even further onto the back foot as Querrey pounced on a poor Nadal dropshot to break in the opening game of the second set. The Spaniard upped his level, broke back and then struck again as Querrey served to stay in the set at 5-4.

“The break back in the second set was probably the turning point in the match. He just doesn’t go away. If you win the first set, it’s almost like having to start the match again,” said Querrey.

To the crowd’s delight, the Spaniard then took the lead in the match for the first time and broke for a 3-1 lead as Querrey struggled to maintain his bright start. The single break was enough for Nadal and he pocketed the third set to take control.

Nadal Comes Through Tough Fourth Set

There was an air of inevitability hanging over the fourth set especially as Nadal held his first two service games to love, while Querrey began to struggle on serve, coming through three deuces in the fifth game and saving two break points in the seventh.

The American was not done however and took Nadal to three deuces in the very next game, finding his previous form. Nadal regrouped once more and took eight successive points from 30-0 on Querrey’s serve to take victory.

“It’s very important to begin with a win. I was a little short of energy and strength today and I would like to thank the crowd for their extra support, “ commented Nadal.

David Ferrer is taking on Andy Roddick in the second rubber in the Plaza de Toros.

Posted by Shelia

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