SAO JOSE DO RIO PRETO, BRAZIL: Brazil can now breathe a sigh of relief. They are back to the Davis Cup by BNP Paribas World Group after a solid 5-0 victory over Russia. After nine years of frustration in Group 1 and losing six straight times in the World Group play-off, it is time to plan 2013.
The main objective of the Brazilian team in the World Group is to remain among the best. To achieve this goal, captain Joao Zwetsch expects to have some luck during the draw next Wednesday. The dreamed scenario is to face one of the last seeded teams like Croatia or Austria on Brazilian ground.
“We still depend very much on Thomaz Bellucci. We needed to have some more options to face other teams away on hard courts because that is not really our speciality. In 2013 we will also need to have some luck in the draw. Not facing the stronger teams like Spain, France, Czech Republic and Argentina in the first round and playing at home would be really important for our chances”, said a realistic Zwetsch.
Bellucci is showing some improvement this year after a slow finish in 2011 that led to the end of the partnership with the renowned Larri Passos, former coach of Gustavo Kuerten. This season he has raised the trophy in Gstaad for the second time in his career and beaten some players among the top 10 in the ATP rankings like David Ferrer (No. 5) and Janko Tipsarevic (No. 9).
“I am very happy. It is very good not only for me but for the rest of the team. It is very good for us to get the position to play against some of the best players of the world. For me it is very special to play under the Brazilian flag and I hope this will help my confidence to succeed on hard courts, something I really need if I want to get a better position on ATP rankings”, said Bellucci, ranked No. 41 right now.
In Davis Cup, Bellucci won every single match he played this year - including Teymuraz Gabashvili on day one and Alex Bogomolov Jr. on Sunday 76(4) 63 in 1 hour, 47 minutes when the tie against Russia was already decided after the crucial third point was reached on Saturday.
“Bellucci is a player that is showing a lot of potential. He only needs to fix some things in his game to become one of the best players in the world. He is very dangerous on a good day but he needs to be dangerous as well on a bad day. Sometimes he must think about not going for the winner at every ball like he usually does. More regularity is important to rise in rankings”, explained the former three-time Roland Garros champion Guga Kuerten.
On Sunday Brazil remained dominant over Russia. After Bellucci’s win, Rogerio Dutra Silva also beat Stanislav Vovk 62 62 in just 1 hour and 7 minutes. The Brazilian No. 2 (117th on ATP rankings), who is 4-0 in Davis Cup appearances, is going to be very important to the team if they have to face an opponent on clay next year in the World Group. In Sao Jose do Rio Preto he has also beaten Igor Andreev - the Russian was forced to retire after losing the first two sets.
“Clay courts are my speciality and where I had my best results on tour. I am ready to fight against everyone. Let’s hope we can face a team in these kind of conditions”, said Dutra Silva.
On the other hand, Russia is back to the Group 1 after 20 years. A result they had already expected when they arrived in Brazil since the two best Russian players Mikhail Youzhny and Nikolay Davydenko were not able to play. Since they are veterans, the team will need a renovation.
“We have some young players that need to get some more experience. I brought Vovk and Bogomolov to Brazil and I hope they can show good tennis in the next ties. Let’s see. To be back to the Group 1 is not the end of the world”, said Russian captain Shamil Tarpischev.
Alex Bogomolov Jr. (RUS) - 16/09/12
Rogerio Dutra Silva (BRA) - 16/09/12
Stanislav Vovk (RUS) - 16/09/12
Thomaz Bellucci (BRA) - 16/09/12