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11 February 2012

Doubles delight as Argentina seal victory


MATCH REPORT

By 

  • David Hein

Photo: Paul ZimmerDavid Nalbandian (ARG) and Eduardo Schwank (ARG)

BAMBERG, GERMANY: Argentina stormed back from two sets down for a magical five-set win over Germany in Saturday’s doubles rubber to complete a 3-0 victory in the Davis Cup by BNP Paribas World Group tie.

Argentines Eduardo Schwank and David Nalbandian fell behind two sets in Bamberg but beat Philipp Petzschner and Tommy Haas 36 46 64 63 64, finishing off the match after 3 hours 30 minutes when Petzschner hit a forehand into the net.

“We feel very happy. It was a very tough match. The last two and a half sets they really played unbelievable tennis,” said Argentina captain Martin Jaite, whose team will face either Croatia or Japan in the quarter-finals at home.

“It’s difficult to believe that we lost the match. It was a couple of points here and there. Nalbandian really carried Schwank in the third and fourth sets. Argentina were the strong team we expected and they displayed why they are number three in the world,” said German captain Patrik Kuhnen, who was hoping for a better present on his 46th birthday.

In the opening set Argentina came up with a break in Haas’ first service game before Nalbandian held to give the South Americans a 3-1 lead. Germany, however, reclaimed the break by converting their first opportunity on Schwank’s serve to pull even at 3-3.

Petzschner confirmed the break and then the Germans picked up another break, this time against Nalbandian, also on the first attempt, for a 5-3 advantage. Haas then finished off the first set in style sending the German crowd into hysterics.

Haas and Nalbandian both fended off break points on their opening service games in the second set but Germany then collected their break thanks to a Schwank double fault. Haas and Petzschner served out the rest of the set for a 6-4 frame.

The third set remained on serve without a single break point until Petzschner’s serve in the 10th game with Germany trailing 5-4. Argentina jumped at the chance to finally take a set and with it keep their hopes of finishing the tie alive.

“We knew that if we stayed aggressive that the match would change,” said Nalbandian, who stormed back from one set down against Mayer in Friday’s singles to win in four sets.

And a break in the third set put that change in motion. Germany had a break opportunity in the first game of the fourth set but Petzschner sank a backhand into the net. Argentina broke Haas’ serve in the very next game and Schwank served to love to pull out a 3-0 lead.

Germany broke back to pull within 4-3 but Petzschner this time double-faulted to hand the break right back and Argentina forced the match into a fifth and final set.

In the decisive frame, Haas fended off two break points in the first game. But he could not keep Schwank from hitting a screaming forehand down the line to snatch the break in the fifth game for a 3-2 lead.

Nalbandian did not allow Germany a chance for a break, serving to love and then neither could Germany break Schwank to extend the match – and the tie.

“We thought we would bring it home but it was not the case. We lost a couple points here or there and that was the difference. It’s very disappointing. But that’s sports,” said Haas.

Argentina improved to 6-2 against Germany in their history, which dates back to 1936, including being undefeated on clay. Argentina now await the winner of Japan and Croatia in the quarterfinals, as they bid to reach the Davis Cup Final for the second year in a row. Four times the nation has attempted to win the title, but to no avail, and the trophy remains its most treasured - yet most elusive - prize.

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Captain Patrik Kuhnen (GER) - 11/02/2012

David Nalbandian (ARG) - 11/02/2012

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    David Hein

    David has been living the dream as a sports journalist since 1997, allowing sport to take him around the world and back again and show him that life is a game. The full-time freelancer and founder of heinnews.com is most often found roaming basketball courts around the world but also loves taking in a good five-setter.

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