Click Above Photo to Visit the American Tennis Association (ATA)

Welcome Tennis Lovers!!

Talk About Being Taken To The Woodshed! USA Takes A 1-4 Beat Down From Spain At Davis Cup

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Black Tennis Pro's Davis Cup SemifinalWorld No. 1 Rafael Nadal turned in a virtuoso performance to defeat American Andy Roddick 6-4, 6-0, 6-4, to secure Spain’s place in the 2008 Davis Cup by BNP Paribas Final.

It wasn’t that Roddick, ranked No. 8 in the world, played badly; it was just that, on this occasion, he was outclassed by Nadal, who played almost faultless tennis, hitting 60 winners to Roddick’s 39 and committing ten fewer unforced errors in the 2 hour, 12 minute encounter.

“Today I play an almost perfect match and it is very, very exciting,” said Nadal after the win. “Today I played very well. I shocked myself with some of the winners I played, was near perfect tennis.”

Nadal Dominates From Start

The 21,000 strong crowd at the Plaza de Toros Las Ventas in Madrid waited out a 1 hour, 40 minute rain delay before Nadal and Roddick took the court. From almost the first point of the match, the world No. 1 dominated the American, who failed to convert any of the seven break point opportunities he had in the match.

Roddick seemed almost philosophical in defeat, laughing ruefully on the bench at the changeovers with USA Captain Patrick McEnroe:

“He’s possibly the best clay-courter ever so it’s tough, especially when he hits like he did today. He was going for his shots and not leaving much short.”

Roddick Gets The Fans On His Side

Having struggled with the mostly Spanish fans on Friday, Roddick got them on side when he raised his hands as if to ask them to cheer for a missed first serve during the third set. The fans responded by good-naturedly chanting “Roddick, Roddick” and the American player smiled up at the stands.

“Yeah, they’re only going to do that if your getting your butt kicked,” said a good-natured Roddick afterwards.

Nadal showed real emotion in victory but showed his respect for his opponents and his inate good manners by going first to the American bench, shaking every hand before he ran to his own team to celebrate. Carried on the shoulders of Feliciano Lopez, he was saluted by teammates and fans alike in this, his first event in Spain as the new world No. 1. No matador at the Las Ventas, the most important bullring in all of Spain, could have been greeted with more passion or affection than Nadal on this day.

Nadal had a 3-2 advantage in the career head-to-head with the American No. 1 but they had only met once before on clay in the 2004 Davis Cup by BNP Paribas Final won by the Spaniard in four sets. The pair played twice before in 2008, with a win for Roddick in Dubai and another for Nadal at Queen’s.

Serving Problems In First Set

From start to finish, the atmosphere at Las Ventas was electric and full of anticipation of a Spanish victory. Both players held serve easily to start the match despite a poor first service percentage. In the fifth game of the first set, Roddick’s serving woes continued but he staved off three break points against a determined Nadal but on his next service game, Nadal broke with a forehand passing shot down the line and the Spanish flags started flying. Nadal consolidated his break for 5-3 then, with US captain McEnroe exhorting him from the sidelines, Roddick held serve forcing Nadal, who took a spill running for a drop shot, to serve for the set.

After winning the first point, Nadal made three unforced errors for 15-40 giving the American his first break points of the match. A forehand error from Roddick and two forehand winners gave Nadal a first set point and with an emphatic ace, the Spaniard won the first set 64.

Nadal broke in the opening game of the second set with a forehand down the line winner and, with sublime ease, went on to win the second set 6-0. As in the opening set, the only break points he faced came when he served for the set and, also like the first, he won the set with an ace. This marked the first time that Roddick, who was serving well in the second set, had lost a set to love in Davis Cup and only the fifth time that this had happened in his career.

In the third, Roddick played steadier tennis but Nadal was just too good for him on the day. Although the American saved five match points on his serve for 5-4, the man from Mallorca made no mistake on the first opportunity on his own serve, converting his sixth match point opportunity into a win.

Feliciano Lopez defeated Sam Querrey 7-6, 7-6, in the dead rubber to make the final score 4-1, after which all the Spanish players and captain Emilio Sanchez spoke to the crowd and thanked them for their support.

Spain will travel to Argentina or Russia for November’s final. Argentina led that tie 2-1 overnight.

Photo Paul Zimmer

Read the rest of this post...........

Posted by Shelia
Labels: , , , , , , , , ,

Email this post

Bryan And Fish Stop The USA Bleeding At Davis Cup

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Black Tennis Pro's USA Davis Cup Doubles SemifinalAmericans Mike Bryan and Mardy Fish kept the defending champions’ hopes alive, defeating Spain’s Feliciano Lopez and Fernando Verdasco 4-6, 6-4, 63 4-6, 6-4, spoiling Lopez’s 27th birthday celebrations and Spain’s dream of a 3-0 sweep in the Davis Cup by BNP Paribas Semifinals. Bryan, playing Davis Cup doubles without twin brother Bob for the first time, and close friend Fish made a strong pair but their opponents also played a tough match.

“The key to this match was us bonding,” said Fish. “We’ve been great friends for years and you play your best tennis when you are having fun. I admire the way Mardy played today,” added Bryan. “It was tough to read Feliciano’s serve. It was a hard fought battle. We took our chances when we got them but it took a little while to get going.”

“It was very close. The toughest thing was to come back from two sets to one down and a break,” said Lopez. “With a bit more luck we could have won. The crowd helped us a lot in the fourth set.”

Good Start For Spain

Madrid’s Plaza de Toros de Las Ventas was rocking with nearly 21,000 fans, most hoping to see Lopez and Verdasco win the third point for Spain and propel their country into the Davis Cup by BNP Paribas Final for a sixth time. Lopez was treated to a chorus of “Happy Birthday” by the fans who were clearly in a celebratory mood but a smaller but no less noisy contingent of American fans also had their dreams of an American comeback.

The Spanish were on fire in the first set, serving better than the Americans and making only two unforced errors compared to 10 and converting the first break point opportunity in the seventh game on Bryan’s serve. Lopez served for the set, poaching a volley from Verdasco to seal the opener for Spain.

There were many celebrities on hand at Las Ventas including former IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch, who earlier in the day received a Davis Cup replica trophy from ITF President Francesco Ricci Bitti, to LA Laker Pau Gasol, a friend of Rafa Nadal’s. The iconic bullring was clearly the place to be this weekend and the excitement levels were very high.

Bryan And Fish Find A Way Through

The Americans started more confidently in the second set, making fewer errors and generally looking stronger while the Spanish pair made a few more errors to give the USA an opening and on their first break point of the match, Fish hit a stunning forehand volley to win the second set 64.

In the third set, the Americans really began to gel, playing solid tennis and making the Spanish work for every point. The Spanish were able to save two break points on the Verdasco serve at 4-5 but, on the third, Lopez hit a return just wide but Bryan hit it anyway, a winner down the line to finish the point. Fish held serve to give the Americans a two-sets to one lead.The traditional Bryan bump was adapted to a sort of Mardy/Mike twist bump that made its first outing in this set, never to be seen again.

Grabbing the momentum with both hands, the Americans broke Lopez in the first game to take a 1-0 lead but they were not able to hold on, with the Spanish breaking Mike Bryan in the eighth game to get back on serve. At 4-5, Fish served to stay in the set, saving five break points before the Spanish were able to capitalise and level the match at two-sets all.

Vital Break For USA

Verdasco served first to open the set, saving three break points and squandering two game points before a Lopez winner gave the Spanish a 1-0 lead in the set. The set went with serve until it was Verdasco’s turn again and he was broken to give the Americans the lead. Fish struggled on his serve but held on for 4-2 then Lopez held serve easily for 4-3. Bryan held serve for 5-3 and then Verdasco, who had struggled in his last two service games, needed to hold serve if Spain were to have a chance of victory in today’s doubles. If he was nervous, the Spaniard didn’t show it and forced Fish to serve for the match at 5-4. The American had a comfortable service game, converting the first match point to win the match and keep American hopes alive.

“It means the world to me,” added Fish who played on the losing side in the 2004 Final against Spain in Seville. “Davis Cup is a huge thing. I’ve been waiting four years for this.”

“Nobody can say that our players don’t play their guts out when they are playing for their country,” said US captain Patrick McEnroe. “This is a big shot of adrenalin going into Sunday. We lost two heartbreakers yesterday, won a close one today against a great team. We will take our chances, play aggressively when we can and see what happens.”

Nadal Vs. Roddick Tomorrow

Celebrations on the American bench and the prospect of a Nadal-Roddick opener tomorrow tantalised the crowd at Las Ventas who are excited about another day of live tennis. All three of the matches played so far have registered just over 3 hrs. 15 minutes on the Rolex clocks on court and tomorrow’s could also be a long one with the Madrid altitude helping a big server like Roddick, even against a player with the clay court prowess of Nadal.

Asked if he was worried about the crowd tomorrow, McEnroe said: “Rafael Nadal worries me a lot, more than the crowd. He’s the best clay court player in the world. Andy played a tough match against David Ferrer. He got a bit frustrated, losing his serve at 6-6 in the fifth. He’s a competitor who wants to win. I’m not worried. Andy knows what he has to do. He has been in this position before.”

“The crowd behaved well. We can’t complain. This is normal in Davis Cup,” said Spanish captain Emilio Sanchez. “If I were Andy Roddick, I would be concentrating on facing Nadal. If he is worried about the crowd, he won’t be playing his best tennis.”

Photo Paul Zimmer

Read the rest of this post...........

Posted by Shelia
Labels: , , , , , , , , ,

Email this post
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Design by Blogger Buster