BAMBERG, GERMANY: Argentina overcame not having their top player and travelling to Europe in beating Germany 4-1 in their Davis Cup by BNP Paribas World Group tie to set up a quarterfinal date with Croatia.
Despite Juan Martin del Potro turning down an invitation to play, the 2011 finalists improved their all-time mark against Germany to 6-2 to move into the final eight.
“The victory is the most important thing because we came here to win. We had a very good atmosphere within our group, which makes it much more easy to have a good result,” said Argentine captain Martin Jaite, who replaced former boss Tito Vazquez for this season.
Argentina No. 1 Juan Monaco started the tie with a straight-sets win over Philipp Petzschner, 63 63 63. David Nalbandian followed suit on Friday, bouncing back for a 26 60 61 76(5) victory over German No. 1 Florian Mayer.
Nalbandian and Eduardo Schwank on Saturday decided the tie with a dramatic come-from-behind five-set win over Petzschner and Tommy Haas, 36 46 64 63 64 in the doubles rubber.
In Sunday’s reverse singles, Juan Igancio Chela picked up a fourth point with a 75 75 victory against Mayer before Cedrik-Marcel Stebe saved face for the Germans with a 76(1) 75 win over Schwank in his Davis Cup debut.
“Argentina were the strong team we expected and they displayed why they are number three in the world,” said German captain Patrik Kuhnen, who called on Stebe after Philipp Kohlschreiber pulled out on Wednesday with a stomach flu.”
“We did great here and it’s great to reach the quarter-finals,” said Chela.
“It’s not easy for us to come here in February. We are playing in South America normally at this time. We had a long trip here. But we arrived fine and confident.”
Argentina will face Croatia in the next round in April in South America – which will likely prove a daunting task for the Europeans.
Argentina are 2-0 against Croatia, beating them 3-2 in 2006 in Croatia and 3-2 in 2002 in Buenos Aires – both times in the quarterfinals.
“It’s not easy for the other team to play in Argentina. We have 14,000 people supporting us. For us, it’s great. It’s amazing,” said Chela.
It’s too early to know who will be on his team for the tie, but Jaite said del Potro is always welcome back to the team after he did not want to switch surfaces this early in the ATP tour.
“Del Potro has the door open to the team. We feel he is part of the team. He didn’t play this time but we are waiting for him. Still we have a great team with him and with the players that are here,” said the Argentina captain.
Juan Ignacio Chela (ARG) - 12/02/2012