AMERICAS ZONE GROUP I: There was no room for surprises in the first day of the Davis Cup by BNP Paribas Americas Group I final. Brazil managed to play their best tennis and also took advantage of the crucial absence of Ururguay’s Pablo Cuevas. The Brazilians lead the tie 2-0 at the Carrasco Tennis Lawn in Montevideo.
World No. 135 Rogerio Dutra da Silva made a flawless debut for the Brazilian team in the opening rubber defeating Marcel Felder 62 62 63.
Next up was Thomaz Bellucci, who didn’t give his rival Martin Cuevas a chance, earning a straight sets win 61 64 75 that made the numerous Brazilian fans that travelled to the Uruguayan capital city cheer in the stands.
The two-point lead means that Brazil is only one point short of qualifying for the World Group play-offs for the sixth consecutive time.
The knee injury to Uruguay's No. 1 player was, as expected, a major handicap for the local team as it forced Marcel Felder to play a rival that he had very little hope of beating.
"Joao Zwetsch (Brazil's captain) was very clever in choosing him. His playing style is really difficult for me," declared Felder.
Bellucci was happy with his victory but not completely satisfied with his performance.
"I have not played my best tennis today but luckily, I managed to win. It's not easy to play away," said the world No. 35 who complained about an interruption at the start of the third set that made him lose momentum.
The action resumes today from 11:30 local time (14:30 GMT). The Uruguayans Felder and Cuevas play the Brazilian pairing of Bruno Soares and Joao Olavo Souza.
Ecuador only needs one more point
It came as a surprise to many, but Ecuador managed to beat the Canadians in the first two rubbers of their Davis Cup Americas Group I tie and are now only one point short of getting a ticket to the World Group play-offs.
According to the rankings, the visiting team was clear favourite to win both matches but the Ecuadorian players were determined to defy the odds. The locals took advantage of the slow surface that neutralized the service/volley playing style of the Canadians.
The first rubber saw Ecuador´s Iván Endara Campozano take on Canada´s Vasek Pospisil. The atmosphere in the stands was very lively with the locals supporting their local player in every point. The 23-year-old Endara made his plan very clear, he played very long rallies and did not let his rival take the initiative at any moment.
Everything worked very well for the Ecuadorian in the two first sets. The heat started to take its toll on the Canadian and Endara´s service was improving game after game. The local player took a two-set lead 63 64. The third set saw Pospisil fight back to take the set in the tiebreak. The Canadian started to connect with some very good forehands and reduced his unforced errors percentage. It seemed that a comeback was possible.
Pospisil took an early break in the fourth set to lead 3-1 and the tension started to be visible in the stands. However, Endara would not lose another game in the match and secured the first point for the locals. The final score was 63 64 67(6) 63.
"This victory is very special for me because yesterday night I couldn’t sleep thinking that I would be playing the opening match. I´m very happy with how I played from the beginning," said Endara.
The first two sets of the second rubber were very tight and both ended in a tiebreak, one for each player. The third set was also very even but this time the Ecuadorian Julio Campozano managed to break Philip Bester´s service to take the set 75. The Canadian could not cope with Campozano´s intensity in the fourth set and the Ecuadorian completed a crucial victory for his country 76(4) 67(4) 75 62.
Campozano was overwhelmed with emotion after the four-hour long match. "I think I´m crying because I need to relieve the tension that I accumulated during the match. These hours have been very mentally intense for me; I could not relax at any point in the match. I think these tears show my happiness. But there are still three points to be played and now I have to recover and secure the victory in the tie.”