May 26, 2013
Davis Cup: Argentina eases into quarterfinals
By Gabriela Padín Losada
Argentina reaches the Davis Cup quarterfinals with a 3-0 unbeaten lead after two days of competition as Nalbandian-Zeballos beat Kas-Kamke in four sets. They will next host France in April. Today, the reverse singles.
Argentina overcame easily a first -round Davis Cup series against Germany as they took an insurmountable 3-0 lead. David Nalbandian and Horacio Zeballos beat Christopher Kas Tobias Kamke 6-1 6-4 7-5 6-2 yesterday in two hours and 48 minutes at Mary Terán de Weiss stadium in Parque Roca to next face France in April 5-7.
The reverse singles scheduled for today at 11am will be just an exhibition for the ticket-holders. Juan Mónaco will face Kamke followed by Berlocq against Florian Mayer.
The left leg muscle tear suffered by Philipp Kohlschreiber yesterday in his loss to Carlos Berlocq was the key to the win. Argentina overcame Juan Martín del Potro’s withdrawal and Nalbandian’s visible out-of-shape condition thanks to the players’ commitment with the aim and a lot of good luck. But, it is not enough if the new objective is to reach semifinals.
After the win, Nalbandian remarked at a courtside interview that many people talked the previous days about the threat of playing the promotion playoffs as the loss was a possibility and that yesterday’s win was a kind of revenge for those who did not believe in the team. Apart from the exultant speech of the moment, Davis Cup captain Martín Jaite has a big challenge in the next series if Del Potro does not review his decision of withdrawing all the current seasonso what the team showed this week is not enough for such a tough series.
“France is a great rival but we can win,” said Jaite. “We feel comfortable in Parque Roca but this does not mean that we will play always here. We have to think which venue is the most convenient for the series. We have to consider playing in the altitude or not.” Tigre and Mendoza City are possible venues.
Nearly 4,000 fervent spectators supported the Argentine pair. Nevertheless, Nalbandian has an evident connection with the Davis Cup fans as he is always willing to participate but yesterday’s was his first match in the last eight months. The lack of training only allowed him to play key balls near the net but he was far from his usual standard. Zeballos had to run for both and had the prize of defining Argentina’s third match point of the match crossing the ball with a forehand.
The German pair — Kamke played instead of Kohlschreiber — was not able to put them in trouble. Argentina broke both German players to take a 3-1 and 5-1 lead in the first set. Kas also conceded his serve in the second set. The visitors showed their best play in the third, which won after breaking Nalbandian. Argentina started the fourth set trying to define the match and the series and Kas allowed them to do it with two breaks of his serve.
Jaite, Nalbandian and Zeballos were asked at the press conference if they had received a congratulatory call from Del Potro. Jaite and Nalbandian denied the fact while Zeballos inquired: “Congratulations from who?” The conflict inside Argentine team seems to have no end.