May 18, 2013
Argentina leads Davis Cup series 2-0
By Gabriela Padín Losada
Argentina leads the first round Davis Cup series 2-0 after day one of competition. Kohlschreiber withdrew due to injury to give Berlocq the victory and Mónaco defeated Mayer. The doubles match today at 1pm.
Against all odds, Argentina may beat Germany today to reach the Davis Cup second round against France or Israel. A torn muscle in Philipp Kohlschreiber’s left leg put Argentina as a clear candidate for taking the first round series. Carlos Berlocq and Juan Mónaco won the singles matches yesterday at a nearly-empty Mary Terán de Weiss stadium in Parque Roca. Just 2,500 spectators in a 12,000-capacity stadium was a dull environment under a burning sun and a temperature of nearly 40°C.
However, the sporting result at the end of the day was highly successful and it may be better today. David Nalbandian and Horacio Zeballos will meet the German pair at 1pm with the aim of sealing the victory. Kohlschreiber was scheduled to pair with Christopher Kas but he returned to Germany yesterday aided with crutches as he cannot put down his leg on the floor.
World number 70 Carlos Berlocq was supposed to have a tough match against the German and it was so until 19th-ranked Kohlschreiber asked for the trainer in the fifth set with the Argentine serving 3-4 15-30. The German returned to lose the game and win the following but the pain obliged him to withdraw to give the Argentine a 3-6 7-5 2-6 6-4 4-5 and retired victory.
Apart from the point won by the Chascomús-born player, German best-ranked Kohlschreiber’s injury complicates the visitors’ chances as he was scheduled to play the three days. Later, 12th- ranked Juan Mónaco defeated world number 28 Florian Mayer 6-7(4-7) 6-3 6-3 6-4 so that Argentina ended day one of competition 2-0 ahead.
Berlocq felt like a hero after the match. He tore up his jersey to show his chest and pointed his heart as Djokovic is used to doing. “I like that celebration. I am not trying to compare myself with Djokovic. I need more wins to be like him. I just became greater,” joked Berlocq.
It was just his second Davis Cup match and he was the clear underdog. “It was the most important victory of my career. When I lost to Tomas Berdych in my Davis Cup debut last year, it was a motivated feeling to hear people chanting my name but I needed the revenge for the loss. I think it came today (yesterday). But we have not won anything yet. I lost concentration when he asked for the trainer and could not capitalize the favourable situation. In the endless game, I played aggressively according to the demanding training sessions I have had this week but I also had good luck” added overjoyed “Charly”, who was called Gladiator after his favourite movie.
Beyond the importance of the win, Berlocq made many mistakes even when Kohlschreiber was not able to run. The last game played was a signal of that. The Argentine showed his best play in the fourth set with a break without conceding any point to put himself 4-3 ahead. He later kept this gap and won the set. He also won the second set with a 5-5 40-0 break. The first and the third were for the German.
Captain Martín Jaite dismissed the idea of valuing Berlocq’s victory over Mónaco’s: “Both of them were the heroes of the day. Pico had to lead with a complicated rival Mayer, who plays non-conventional tennis, and Charly, apart from the retirement, managed to keep Kohlschreiber playing four hours. We are very happy,”
Mónaco fulfilled expectations and won his match against Mayer. It was an irregular match, full of breaks but the Argentine imposed his quality. “Charly’s victory did not change the way I entered the field. I was focused on my match. It was difficult to play in such hot weather. Sometimes, I felt tired, with lack of energy. Fortunately, I won,” said “Pico”.
“We do not know who they will field but we have to think of our team. David (Nalbandian) felt comfortable playing with Zeballos. He is also confident with his play. We have to win one point out of three. This is our aim,” said Jaite.