MONTEVIDEO, URUGUAY: Pablo Cuevas clinched the vital point in Uruguay’s Davis Cup by BNP Paribas Americas Zone Group I first round tie against Colombia on Sunday. He defeated opposing No. 1 Santiago Giraldo 62 63 64 to set up another home tie in the second round against Brazil.
With the home crowd behind him, Cuevas played one of the best matches of his career to overcome a player ranked over 20 places higher at No. 44 in the world. “I have to thank all the support I’ve received during the match because it is has been really important for me” he said. “I’m really happy. I knew it was going to be a difficult match but at the same time, I felt comfortable, not being nervous at all.”
Both players had recorded singles wins on the opening day, while Cuevas had also teamed up with Marcel Felder in Saturday’s doubles rubber to put the hosts 2-1 ahead. The Uruguayan pair outlasted Juan-Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah 16 76(6) 16 76(5) 62.
After their earlier exertions during the weekend, Cuevas and Giraldo were noticeably tired when they faced off in the battle of the No. 1s on Sunday, but Cuevas played some solid tennis at the key moments and clinched victory with his first match point. “I wasn’t nervous and I tried to avoid mistakes,” he said.
In the fifth dead rubber, Felder continued the Uruguayan celebrations by beating Alejandro Falla 67(5) 76(3) 63. “I wanted to win this match because it was a great opportunity to practice my tennis, so I wanted to use it and I felt very good during the three sets,” said Felder. The result gave Uruguay a 4-1 win.
ESTADO DEMEXICO, MEXICO: With Canada leading 2-1 after the opening two days, world No. 37 Milos Raonic sealed victory for the visitors by easing past Daniel Garza 75 63 62 in the fourth rubber on Sunday.
Raonic, who won all three of his rubbers against Mexico, is one of the up and coming stars in the men’s game. The 20 year-old burst onto the scene in January by reaching the last 16 at the Australian Open, and followed this is up on the American hard courts with a tournament win in San Jose and a runner-up finish in Memphis.
“I know I have a lot of work to do on the clay,” said Raonic, who hopes to use this weekend as a spring board for success in upcoming clay court tournaments. “I have to put in hours. I’m going to do a full clay court season because I want to improve a lot on it. I don’t know too much of what to expect, I didn’t play at all last year on clay. So I look forward to that challenge.”
“For me there is a lot of pride behind the Davis Cup and there is a lot of pride playing for your country, especially for the growth of the sport,” he added. “It’s not just one person, it’s a whole team.” Raonic wants the team’s performances in Davis Cup to inspire the next generation of players in Canada.
With the tie decided, Peter Polansky defeated Manuel Sanchez 64 61 to complete a 4-1 win for Canada. Next up for Martin Laurendeau’s team is a trip to Ecuador in the Americas Zone Group I second round, which is also expected to be on clay.
“Ecuador’s No. 1 (Giovanni Lapentti) is considered to be better than Mexico’s No. 1, but there is not as much depth in the Ecuadorean line-up,” said Laurendeau, the Canadian captain. “You have to win three matches in the weekend and if we have the same players that we had these days, we’ll have more options and a better chance to win.”