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03 December 2011

Blog - Turn back time



  • Clive White

Photo: Paul ZimmerJuan Martin del Potro (ARG)

While Juan Martin del Potro will be doing his best to recollect 2009 and the three consecutive victories he enjoyed that year over Rafael Nadal when he steps on court against the world No. 2 at the Olympic Stadium on Sunday, it is the 1939 Davis Cup Final that Argentina needs to reprise against Spain.

That was the year – the only year in the competition’s 110-year history – that a finalist came from 0-2 down to win. Like Argentina, Australia were the away team with seemingly little chance of winning the trophy against United States at the Merion Cricket Club, Haverford when on day one – also like Argentina – they lost the opening rubber in straight sets, when Bobby Riggs beat John Bromwich, and the second rubber in five sets, when Frank Parker beat Adrian Quist.

Bromwich and Quist were doubles specialists so it was no real surprise when they came back on day two to win the third rubber against a youthful Jack Kramer and Joseph Hunt – almost as emphatically as David Nalbandian and Eduardo Schwank did against Fernando Verdasco and Feliciano Lopez here.

However, Harry Hopman’s two-man team still had it all to do. Quist beat Riggs in five sets in the first of the reverse singles and while Argentine fans can dream of del Potro replicating that feat against Nadal they may have to fantasise about something rather less simplistic than Bromwich’s straight sets defeat of Parker in the final rubber.

But hang on a minute, isn’t that how Nalbandian beat David Ferrer the last time these two countries contested the Final, at Mar del Plata in 2008? They must hope that history repeats itself. Schwank said he was hoping for a “small miracle”. Some might say they need a big one.

Audio commentaries of every Davis Cup Final, including Australia's famous comeback in 1939, can be found within the Virtual Tour of the Davis Cup Trophy.

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    • Argentina have a point to prove

      03 Dec 2011

      Brilliance from Nalbandian and Schwank ensures the Final enters a third day, when Rafael Nadal is scheduled to take on Juan Martin del Potro in the singles

    • Doubles win keeps tie alive for Argentina

      03 Dec 2011

      David Nalbandian and Eduardo Schwank crush Feliciano Lopez and Fernando Verdasco 64 62 63 to close the gap to 2-1

    • A long road back

      02 Dec 2011

      David Ferrer's momentous efforts in the second rubber give Spain a 2-0 lead, leaving Juan Martin del Potro a broken man

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ESP Flag Spain v Argentina ARG Flag 2 Dec 2011 - 4 Dec 2011 View details


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    Clive White

    Clive started writing about sport at the 1966 World Cup final, since when, he says, it’s been all downhill... for England if not necessarily himself. He joined The Times at 21 before moving to the Sunday Telegraph where he provided worldwide coverage of tennis and football. As ghost writer to John McEnroe for six years, Clive learned that sport, far from being a matter of life and death, was, in fact, much more serious than that.


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