GIJON, SPAIN: Spain remained on course to defend their Davis Cup by BNP Paribas title by reaching this year’s final with a 3-1 semifinal victory over USA in Gijon, Spain this weekend.
The Spaniards will be looking for their sixth Davis Cup title when they face Czech Republic in November’s final, a rematch of the 2009 final. All five of Spain’s Davis Cup victories have taken place since 2000.
World No. 5 David Ferrer delivered the final point for Spain by taking a 67 63 64 62 win over world No. 10 John Isner on a cloudy Sunday afternoon.
Earlier in the tie, Nicolas Almagro had defeated Isner in five sets and Ferrer had overcome Sam Querrey in four sets. The Bryan brothers did their usual winning job of taking the doubles point for USA in four sets over Marcel Granollers and Marc Lopez on Saturday.
Ferrer considers Davis Cup a highlight of his career. His 21-4 singles record in the competition is impressive enough, but his perfect 16-0 winning singles streak when playing in home ties is quite astonishing.
“I’m very happy and this is a dream for me,” Ferrer said. “Another Davis Cup final. We were here in Gijon at home, I won the last match and I won over John Isner who is a very, very good player.”
Ferrer surrendered the first set to Isner, who posted 16 aces in the match. He also offered Isner break points early in the second and third sets, but managed to hold onto his serve.
Except for those brief moments, Ferrer was his typical relentless self, having an answer for everything that Isner sent his way. In the end, Ferrer ruled and Isner -- who posted 70 unforced errors in the three-hour match -- went home a bit deflated.
“I had a few chances and if I was to capitalise on those chances the match could’ve been a little different,” Isner said. “I’m more comfortable when I feel like I’m playing ahead and I would’ve liked my chances then, but it wasn’t to be.
“I gave him an inch and he took about 20 yards. He was very good today. He returned my serve exceptionally well and made me return a lot of balls and in the end he was the better player.”
Spain’s Davis Cup captain Alex Corretja seemed relaxed throughout the fourth rubber knowing that Ferrer is a player he could rely on to close out the tie.
“He’s a guy who never gives up, he’s a gladiator and he knows the way he needs to play on clay, the way he needs to move and hit the ball,” said Corretja. “On clay, it’s very difficult to beat him. Of course, on hard courts, indoors too, but here especially because he’s very strong.”
US Davis Cup captain Jim Courier took a bit of solace for the way Team USA worked their way into this semifinal, beating Switzerland 5-0 and France 3-2 in away ties. He was also pleased with how his squad competed this weekend even if they couldn’t find a path to the final over a weighty Spanish contingent.
“It was a great battle between two of the best teams in the world, no doubt,” Courier said. “Spain’s obviously the high watermark in Davis Cup in the last 15 years. We knew it was going to be a very tricky tie for us.
“All of us who live in tennis knew that it was going to be a few points that make the difference. The Spaniard’s found a way to win a few key points in the three matches they won.”
Captain Jim Courier (USA) - 16/09/2012
John Isner (USA) - 16/09/2012
David Ferrer (ESP) - 16/09/12
David Ferrer (ESP) - 16/09/2012
Captain Alex Corretja (ESP) - 16/09/2012
Juan Carlos Ferrero (ESP) - 16/09/2012