MONTEVIDEO, URUGUAY: The Uruguayan No. 1 Pablo Cuevas, No. 66 in the world, defeated the No. 2 Colombian, Alejandro Falla after nearly three hours on court to win the first point of this Davis Cup by BNP Paribas Americas Zone Group I first round tie at the Carrasco Lawn Tennis Club in Montevideo. The final score was 26 61 62 64.
After a difficult first set for Cuevas, he managed to take the second comfortably. He went on to win the third set quickly and despite a tough fight from Falla in the fourth, the Uruguayan was able to overcome his opponent and score the first point for the team in light blue. The Colombian said after the match: “I started well but Pablo stopped making errors and it was even. The balance swung in his favour.”
It took two hours 46 minutes of play for Cuevas to be on the point of victory a couple of times only for Falla to level the score. “I had the chance to put myself level at 4-4 in the fourth set and from there anything could have happened,” said Falla.
With glimpses of good tennis and above all playing with passion in front of his home crowd, Cuevas scored the first point for his country in an tie that promises to be as close as was predicted. “Falla has a style of game that doesn’t favour mine and I don’t like playing him, in spite of the fact that this is the type of court that suits me,” said Cuevas. “Little by little I managed to get into the match and then everything changed.”
Cuevas was pleased to be playing at home. “It’s great to come back,” he said. “Playing at home is very motivational. I felt good after the first set and obviously better after winning.”
On Sunday, Cuevas will take on the No. 1 Colombian, Santiago Giraldo. “In the first match I knew I was going to suffer but against Giraldo I hope I can direct the match differently.”
Giraldo thrashes the younger Cuevas
Santiago Giraldo, who is ranked in the Top 50, comfortably defeated the Uruguayan Martín Cuevas, No. 694 in the world, 62 60 62.
Martín played with his heart on his sleeve, but the difference in the rankings was enormous and it showed on the court. The youngster was emotional after his debut: “I would like to thank the captain and the team for giving me the chance to make my debut in the singles for Uruguay.”
The Uruguayan had his moments, but on the big points he was always a bit hit and miss. Nevertheless, he will take a lot from playing Davis Cup. “These matches help you learn and help you to improve,” he said.
Giraldo said he felt good on the court: “He was a bit nervous,” said the Colombian No. 1. “It was a quick match and a relatively comfortable one.”
His next rubber will be against Pablo Cuevas on Sunday. “It’s going to be a tough match,” he said. “I have played him many times. I’ve won two and lost two. I think that I have a chance but so does he.”
Giraldo went on to say how much he loved to play Davis Cup: “For me, I love playing for my country. I go on very calm on the court. I play very relaxed. If I win it’s very important to leave everything on the court and keep calm.”
Mexico 1-1 Canada
MEXICO CITY, MEXICO: Daniel Garza gave Mexico the first point against Canada after beating Frank Dancevic in five sets in the Club Deportivo La Asunciòn.
Garza won 26 46 62 63 64 to defeat Dancevic in two hours and 50 minutes to give the team captained by Jorge Lozano the first point of this Americas Zone Group I first round tie.
In the first set, the Canadian took the spoils 62, after breaking Garza’s serve in the third game and capitalising on the Mexican’s despair, which saw the home player break his racket during the match.
In the second set, both players held serve until the ninth game when Dancevic broke to take the set, underneath the hot sun that was beating down on the Mexican court.
The Mexican’s reaction was to keep calm and it paid dividends as he broke serve in the second, fourth and eighth games of the third set to take it 62 and get a foothold back in the match.
Dancevic, who committed four doubles faults and hit 10 aces, started to feel the effects of the heat and the altitude in the fourth set.
Garza hit four service games to love in the fourth set and took it 63 after breaking Dancevic’s serve again in the second and fourth games.
In the fifth and final set, the Mexican managed to nullify his opponent once again and took the decider 64 to send the crowd wild at the Club Deportivo La Asunción.
Manuel Sanchez couldn’t do it against Milos Raonic
The Canadian team drew level on Friday after Milos Raonic, No 37 in the world, easily overcame the home side’s Manuel Sanchez, No. 546 in the world, 62 62 61.
The third point of the tie will be decided on Saturday in the doubles when Mexicans Luis Diaz (No. 673) and Miguel Angel Reyes (732) take on Raonic and Vasek Pospisil (No. 346).
The tie will end on Sunday when Garza plays Raonic and Sanchez takes on Dancevic.
The winner of this tie will play away in July against Ecuador for the right to take part in the World Group play-offs. The loser will have to play in a relegation play-off to stay in this group.