SALINAS, ECUADOR: Ecuador and Colombia finish the opening day tied at 1-1 after the singles matches in the first round of the Davis Cup by BNP Paribas Americas Zone Group I.
Ecuador’s Julio Campozano won the first point for the hosts, beating Robert Farah 76(4) 64 62 in 2 hours 45 minutes.
The match started very evenly, with the two players trying to secure points but as the match went on, the Colombian had a great chance to take the first set, with an advantage at 6-5 up. But the Ecuadorian, from Guayaquil, spurred on by the support from the crowd, defended well and forced a tiebreak, which he won 7-4.
Without a doubt, this first set, which lasted 1 hour 26 minutes, was key, and seemed to motivate the Ecuadorian, who came into the match out of form and returning from injury.
In the following sets, Campozano maintained his rhythm and intensity, without easing up for a moment, key factors that led to victory against a rival who never managed to get back into the match.
“The court was very slow, which frustrated him (Farah), as well as that, I returned serve well, and that is his big weapon. There’s no doubt that, emotionally, the first set marked a huge change and, little by little, I grew more confident. His intensity dropped, and I knew I had to take advantage of that” said Campozano, who showed signs of physical fatigue in a day marked by intense sun and thirty five degree heat.
The Ecuadorian sealed victory with his second match point, he said that it was his experience that helped him. “I had double break point; this helped me stay calm when going for the win. In the key point, I was concentrating harder, controlling my anxiety because that is what you have to play against, but, fortunately, I played it point by point.”
This victory marks Campozano’s ninth playing for Ecuador in the Davis Cup.
Giraldo levels the tie
In a match where only the second set was tight, Santiago Giraldo took the point for Colombia after beating Iván Endara of Ecuador 62 46 60 61, in 2 hours 8 minutes.
Playing a very solid game and using all his strengths, the Colombian world No. 67 was always in control of the match, apart from the last half of the second set when he let a 4-2 advantage slip before losing 6-4.
That bad patch, instead of discouraging the Colombian, spurred him on and he started the third set in a more aggressive manner, which he maintained throughout the rest of the match against a rival who was taken aback and ended up making a double fault on match point.
“We have finished the day level but I would still consider Colombia the favourites. Tomorrow morning, my team mates are going to play a great doubles match and we will hopefully have it finished in the first match on Sunday” claimed Colombian Giraldo who went on to explain his loss of the second set. “It was 6-4, 4-2. Comfortable, but I let my concentration drop for a minute. He (Endara) deserves credit as well because he played some good tennis; he pushed himself to the top of his game, but I picked myself up, I placed more focus in playing better and that was key.”
The Colombian also emphasised just how difficult it is to play for so many hours here in Salinas. “The conditions are hard, the court is heavy, there’s a lot of humidity and wind which both helps and hinders you. Because of this, you have to concentrate and not switch off at any moment because you might be taken by surprise.”
“Santiago showed his quality, especially in the fourth set. The way I started the match cost me and then later on when I was 3-0 down in the third set, we decided to go easy and give it all in the fourth set, but this strategy didn’t work for us because he (Giraldo) played so well” explained the Ecuadorian Endara, who assured us that his physical condition was not the reason for his defeat and that he would be able to play in the doubles on Saturday morning.
The tie between Ecuador and Colombia is being played from 10-12 February on clay at Salinas Golf & Tennis in the first round of the Davis Cup by BNP Paribas Americas Zone Group I.
Uruguay Win Convincingly For 2-0
MONTEVIDEO, URUGUAY: Uruguayans Martín Cuevas and Marcel Felder did not disappoint the local supporters in the Carrasco Lawn Tennis Club in their matches against Peru in the first round of the Davis Cup by BNP Paribas Americas Zone Group I.
The first match was contested by the top youngsters of the two countries, Martín ‘Bebu’ Cuevas of Uruguay and Duilio Beretta of Peru. Uruguay prevailed 76(3) 63 61 meaning that Cuevas captured his first victory for his country in the Davis Cup.
With that first win already in the bag, Marcel Felder, who imposed his experience on this duel, this was his 47th match for Uruguay in the Davis Cup, overpowering Peruvian Mauricio Echazú 63 62 64.
Both Uruguayan players felt differently about their wins and hope to advance to the second round. “I’m happy that I played badly and still won” said a self-critical Martín Cuevas. “Pablo (Cuevas) was talking to me all the time, morning, noon and night. He’s a great guy.”
“The warm up in Punta del Este was good for me. It helped me when I was chasing down every ball today” explained Felder. “Tomorrow, I’d like to play with Pablo Cuevas, he’s Number 1”.
The home nation, who didn’t drop a set today, will be trying to close out the tie on Saturday morning in the doubles which will feature Pablo Cuevas and Marcel Felder of Uruguay against Duilio Beretta and Sergio Galdós of Peru.
Sunday will start with Marcel Felder taking on Duilio Beretta, meaning that the fifth rubber will see Martín Cuevas take on Mauricio Echazú.