SAO JOSE DO RIO PRETO, BRAZIL: After a nine-year wait Brazil finally returned to the Davis Cup by BNP Paribas World Group. The result was sealed with a 75 62 76(7) win by Bruno Soares and Marcelo Melo over the Russians Alex Bogomolov Jr and Teymuraz Gabashvili in Sao Jose do Rio Preto this Saturday.
Brazilian tennis fans set up a late carnival party to celebrate something that has not happened since 2003, when three-time Roland Garros champion Gustavo Kuerten was still part of the team - on Saturday, once again, he was at the arena supporting the home team.
“We are living a very special moment. We had deserved for a long time to be back to the World Group and we got it at home with this amazing support of the crowd. We are very emotional because we had faced some really difficult moments, tough losses on the last day. Now that is all over”, said Soares.
It was payback time for Brazil after last year when both teams faced each other in the same stage of competition and the Europeans won 3-2 after the South Americans had two match points to seal the tie during Mikhail Youzhny v Thomaz Bellucci, the fourth rubber.
“I really think we were ready to get to the World Group last year. Not many people believed us but we went there and almost won. We were just a point away. Just a point, nothing else. Now our time has come”, said Soares. “Last years were so frustrating for us at the Davis Cup but now I think we live the best moment of our careers”, Melo completed.
Since the tie’s very beginning, a Brazilian doubles win was largely expected. And after the home team opened a 2-0 lead during day one, Brazil was ready to celebrate as soon as rubber 3 finished. Nevertheless that took a little longer then expected, 2 hours and 34 minutes.
Soares and Melo broke the Russians’ serve twice right at the start of the match to open a 5-1 lead in the first set. They tried to show this time they were determined not to leave room for their opponent’s an opportunity back into the match after losing close Davis Cup play-off ties the last six years. But the Russian doubles fought back and tied 5-5 before Bogomolov lost serve and wasted all their hard work.
“We are used of playing when the ties are 1-1 and I guess this was the first time we played having the opportunity of closing the tie. I guess we felt the pressure when he had to serve to close the first set but then things went fine. We were really expecting a tough match so it is normal to face situations like that”, said Soares.
Thereafter, things did not get better for Bogomolov and Gabashvili, who had never formed a doubles partnership before and lost the second set after making 10 unforced errors and only hitting four winners.
The third set was checkmate for the Russians. It was a matter of winning or going home. Under pressure, Gabashvili and Bogomolov fought until the very last point, but they could not fight anymore in the tiebreak, and Gabashvili, who was not supposed to play doubles and came in for Stanislav Vovk, missed a volley.
“I cannot even think this moment. We did everything wrong. We did not take our chances as we should. We made too many errors. We cannot do it if we wanted to win. It is a shame”, said Bogomolov.
That was the end of the road for the visitors. Now Russia heads back to Group I just like in 1992, the last year this long-established team did not play in the Davis Cup World Group.
“It is normal to have some ups and downs. Australia is playing Group I right now and they have a traditional thing. So it is something our generation will have to face. Let’s try to get back to the World Group next year”, explained Gabashvili.
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Bruno Soares (BRA) - 15/09/2012
Captain Joao Zwetsch (BRA) - 15/09/2012