SAO JOSE DO RIO PRETO, BRASIL: Inspired by Thomaz Bellucci’s dramatic victory over Alejandro Falla on Friday, the Brazilian doubles team of Bruno Soares and Marcelo Melo overcame the Colombians Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah, leaving the home team 2-1 up in this Davis Cup by BNP Paribas Americas Zone Group I.
Supported by an enthusiastic public, the home team won 63 64 62 in two hours 17 minutes. The Brazilian pair started the better, getting the first break in the third game, which allowed them to play with less pressure for the rest of the set, which lasted 36 minutes.
In the second set the Colombians hit back, serving well and breaking the serve of Soares to put themselves 2-0 up. The Brazilians, who weren’t going to take risks, got the break back, before doing so again in the sixth game to move 4-3 up. Holding serve and supported by a frenetic crowd, the Brazilians closed out the set 64.
With the dominance complete on the big points by an excellent Brazilian duo, the home team took the initiative in the third set, breaking Cabal once again and doing it again in the seventh game to win the set 62.
On leaving the court, the Brazilian pair thanked the public that filled the stands at the beautiful tennis venue where the tie was taking place.
Brazilians one point away from play-offs
“It’s a dream come true,” said Melo. “We knew that we were going up against two players that have a lot of doubles experience but we had a strategy and kept going until the end. The most important thing is that we managed to take the lead and now we are just one point off reaching the play-offs once again.”
His partner, Soares, added: “It’s very good to play like this with the home crowd motivating us every step of the way. I think they were crucial as well as the fact that we have known each other since we were little and have played together for more than two years. They are two great players and today we had to be at our best to get this important win.”
The tie continues on Sunday with the reverse singles rubbers. The first match on court starts at 4pm local time (1pm GMT) with both No. 1s fighting for their country – Thomaz Bellucci and Santiago Giraldo. If the Colombian wins it will all go down to the match between Joao Souza and Alejandro Falla.
MONTEVIDEO, CHILE: Originally Belus Prajoux, the Chilean captain, hadn’t nominated Paul Capdeville for the doubles. His nominations in Thursday’s draw had actually been Nicolas Massu and Guillermo Hormazabal. His tactic was to wait to see the outcome of Friday’s singles before making changes to his team.
Uruguay, meanwhile, confirmed on Saturday morning their doubles duo of Marcel Felder and Ariel Behar. Chile didn’t just include Capdeville in the doubles but also chose Jorge Aguilar despite his loss on Friday.
The score said it all: 60 64 62 to the Chileans in less than an hour and-a-half to go 2-1 up in this Davis Cup by BNP Paribas Americas Zone Group I tie.
Capdeville, who managed to easily overcome Martin Cuevas on Friday, returned to the court and played to a high level. “I served and I returned really well and I felt very comfortable on the court,” the Chilean No. 1 said. “Jorge put the bad experience of Friday behind him and played great. The team supported him. Now the tie is 2-1 to us and we hope to close it out in the first match tomorrow. I am up against Marcel and I know that it will be the hardest match of the tie, but I hope to go ahead.”
Marcel Felder, on the other hand, couldn’t hide his disappointment: “I never thought that we would lose so quickly. I’m upset, but the tie goes on and tomorrow presents us with a new opportunity. I know it’s a difficult match. I will have to take my chances, fight for it and win by going for every point.”
His match finished with disappointment against Felder on Friday, but Chile’s No. 2 vindicated his place on the team. “I came back with a vengeance,” said Aguilar. “I wanted to show how much I love to play for Chile in Davis Cup. Yesterday I didn’t feel well, aside from the outcome, I had problems with my forehand and my serve all match. I would like to thank the team for their support and how they backed me to play doubles. If I have to play for the fifth point I am physically in perfect condition.”
The tie resumes on Sunday at the Carrasco Lawn Tennis Club in Montevideo with Capdeville against Felder playing for the fourth point, which could decide the outcome of the tie. If needed, Aguilar and Martin Cuevas will fight for the fifth and final point.