OROPESA DEL MAR, SPAIN: Oliver Marach and Alexander Peya kept Austria’s hopes of a Davis Cup by BNP Paribas semifinal berth alive with a 36 64 64 76(12) victory over the Spanish pairing of Marcel Granollers and Marc Lopez in a pulsating doubles rubber in Marina d’Or.
Spain headed into the second day of the quarterfinal tie with a 2-0 lead after their singles players, David Ferrer and Nicolas Almagro, made light work of Andreas Haider-Maurer and Jurgen Melzer on the opening day.
"It was very important for us to win today as after being 0-2 down we didn’t want to lose the tie and go home already after the second day,” explained Marach. “After the rain break we decided to play different tactics which was good for us, we played more aggressively and it worked.”
It looked like the hosts could be wrapping up the tie with relative ease after a sluggish first set from Marach and Peya gave Spain an early lead. The Austrian pairing struggled to defend their opponent’s relentless ground strokes and made countless errors on their way to conceding the first set 63 in 46 minutes.
A rain break early in the second set changed the momentum and it was Marach and Peya who used the delay to their advantage. They came out at the restart firing on all cylinders, immediately finding their rhythm and taking the break of serve at 2-2. Unlike the previous set when they had failed to put any kind of pressure on their opponents serve, they had numerous opportunities to break and held two set points at 5-3. They may have squandered their first two chances to bring the rubber level but they weren’t going to falter on their own serve, claiming the second set 64 to give the visitors their first set of the weekend.
The third set followed a similar pattern and it was a single break of serve that gave the Austrian pairing, who have won two ATP Tour titles together including Auckland earlier this year, a two sets to one lead.
The fourth set produced some classic tennis and the pairs were much more evenly matched. Granollers really found his form and produced some inspired tennis to keep Spain‘s hopes alive. Another rain break ensued but all four players returned to the court and maintained the level of tennis they had shown previously, forcing the fourth set into a tiebreak.
The two teams could hardly be separated in the tiebreak with the advantage constantly changing. The Spaniards held three set points while the Austrians squandered four match points before finally sealing the match and securing a vital point for Austria. The 14-12 scoreline making it the second longest tiebreak to occur in the World Group in Davis Cup history.
“I'm really upset about losing,” said Lopez, who partnered Rafael Nadal to win the men’s doubles title in Indian Wells last month. “I had trouble with my back before the match but today I felt fine. We tried everything out there but now we will have to wait until tomorrow to see if we can win and make the semifinals.”
“I would like to congratulate the Austrian team because they played a little bit better than us today and they deserve the win,” said Spanish captain Alex Corretja. “My players gave 100 per cent but the Austrians managed the situation better.”
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Captain Alex Corretja (ESP) - 07/04/2012
Alexander Peya and Oliver Marach (AUT) - 07/04/2012