9th WEEK – Davis Cup (1R)

Three nations (Sweden, Argentina & Spain -> Rafael Nadal’s first matches [straight sets victories] since Australian Open) secured their quarter-finals berth after the first two days of the weekend. Perhaps easy win Sweden over Russia is a bit surprising if we take into account Joachim “Pim-Pim” Johansson‘s straight sets win over Teimuraz Gabashvili. Pim-Pim has been semi retired since 2007, he plays only several matches each year so his form is always a mystery. This time he was in a great service shape and fast court in Boras helped him (33 aces in three sets). More aces (38) during the weekend served John Isner in the second rubber in a tie between Chile and the United States. The American after winning first two sets in tie-breaks, led 6:5 (30-15) in the 3rd set against Paul Capdeville, but instead of tight 3-set win, suffered a dramatic 5-set loss# being broken for the only time in the match at 4:4 in the 5th set after holding the serve in 28 consecutive games. The Chileans despite that lucky win and support of the home crowd, couldn’t do much more without still injured Fernando Gonzalez. The decisive point for the Americans (their first tie with Jim Courier as a captain) took Andy Roddick ousting in four sets Capdeville, hanging in the match thanks to the 2nd set tie-break. “My plan was to make him work hard,” said Roddick, who is now five singles rubbers shy of John McEnroe’s 49 matches played. “I knew I was fresher, I had better legs and that won me the match.” The biggest upset of the weekend took place in Ostrava where the Czech Republic weakened by Stepanek’s absence, lost to a World Group debutant – Kazahstan. Andrey Golubev became a national hero overcoming in tight 5-set match Jan Hajek, two days later upsetting Tomas Berdych. The final point for Kazahstan obtained Mikhail Kukushkin, coming back from a *0:3 deficit in the 3rd set and saving two set points in the tie-break against Hajek (6-4, 6-7, 7-6, 6-0). The other tie in which decided the fifth rubber, occurred in Zagreb. Philipp Petzschner out-aced Ivo Karlovic (21-16), but won mainly thanks to his great backhand return-blocks which were constantly brining pressure on big-serving Croat also in a doubles match, in which Karlovic established a new record in the world fastest serve, delivering a service winner (251 kph) on… Petzschner. Although the crucial was the second rubber – Philipp Kohlschreiber saved a match point in the 4th set tie-break against Ivan Dodig. Also Jeremy Chardy became a tie clincher in Vienna (France d. Austria 3-2). Martin Fischer who replaced Stefan Koubek, won the first set over Chardy and led with a break 3:2 in the 2nd set but the more experienced Frenchman prevailed which is a small surprise, considering his poor form in the last months. He came to Austria having lost seven consecutive matches and eleven sets in a row! Jurgen Melzer who was surprisingly beaten by Chardy on day one, on Sunday came back from the brink against Gilles Simon, winning the last nine games of the match since 3:4* in the 4th set, playing marvelous tennis in the last set (Simon won only 4 points!). He celebrated the victory lying on his back, a team captain Gilbert Schaller, made a bow to him, but everything was meaningless three hours later when Chardy won a match point in his match with Fischer… Without slightly injured Djokovic, Serbia advanced to the next round thanks to Viktor Troicki who won the final match of the previous edition of the Davis Cup. 25-year-old Serb beat Rohan Bopanna in five sets and Somdev Devvarman in three sets in the decisive fourth rubber. On the first day, Devverman stunned Janko Tipsarevic in straight sets (7-5, 7-5, 7-6) being close to lose each of the winning sets (1:4; 2:5 ‘deuce’; 3:5 ’30-30′ – respectively in sets). “It is a great feeling to be in the last eight of the competition because this means we have stayed in the World Group, while it also gives us a chance to carry on with our title defense,” says Troicki.

# Five matches in history with four tie-breaks and 6-4 in the fifth set:
Wimbledon 2002: R.Krajicek d. M.Philippoussis 6-7(2), 7-6(4), 6-7(1), 7-6(5), 6-4
Davis Cup 2003: V.Hanescu d. G.Lapentti 7-6(3), 6-7(5), 7-6(5), 6-7(1), 6-4
Davis Cup 2003: Y.J.Kim d. A.Qureshi 6-7(4), 7-6(5), 6-7(2), 7-6(5), 6-4
Davis Cup 2010: J.Nieminen d. M.Przysiezny 6-7(5), 7-6(4), 6-7(5), 7-6(7), 6-4
Davis Cup 2011: P.Capdeville d. J.Isner 6-7(5), 6-7(2), 7-6(3), 7-6(5), 6-4
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