Argentina eyes Davis Cup revenge against Spain

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Argentina eyes Davis Cup revenge against Spain

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MADRID - The last time Argentina met Spain in the Davis Cup, in the 2008 final in Mar del Plata, Argentina, the South Americans were firm favorites to claim their first title, but their challenge was wrecked by infighting within the team.

The Spanish, without talisman Rafael Nadal, pulled off a dramatic victory on the indoor hard court for a third triumph in nine years, Fernando Verdasco battling from two sets to one down to beat Jose Acasuso and secure an unassailable 3-1 lead.

With clay king Nadal leading the charge and the 2011 final to be played on the red dust indoors in Seville, Spain, the boot is very much on the other foot and anything other than a Spanish victory - giving them a third title in four years and fifth overall - would be a major surprise.

Argentina, who have Juan Monaco, Juan Ignacio Chela and Eduardo Schwank alongside Juan Martin Del Potro and David Nalbandian in the squad, say the personality clashes that ruined their 2008 bid are firmly behind them.

“That’s in the past, completely in the past,” Del Potro, the 2009 U.S. Open champion, told a news conference on Tuesday.

“After that [2008] final, we grew up, I’ve improved my game a lot and now we have another chance,” added the rangy 23-year-old, Argentina’s top-ranked player and world No. 11.

“Here it’s different players, different surface, different stadium and this time Spain is the favorite.

“It’s going to be different than Mar del Plata, if we are in good shape and remain focused.”

Verdasco said he knew the Argentines were hurt by the defeat three years ago.

“They were at home and favorites and it’s clear they want to pay us back,” he said. “But we are preparing as if we have never won it before.”

Argentina’s players have been working hard on clay and are hoping the fact that neither Del Potro nor Nalbandian have played a competitive match since October will give them a fresh attack the Spanish may lack.

Nadal and Ferrer competed on a hard court at last week’s World Tour Finals in London, with Ferrer reaching the last four, and have had less than a week to make the switch to their favored clay.

However, getting the better of either world No. 2 Nadal or No. 5 Ferrer will be a tall order for the visitors as neither player has lost a Davis Cup singles match on the surface.

Nadal boasts a 14-0 clay record and 18-1 overall, while Ferrer is 11-0 on clay and 16-4 on all surfaces.

 Reuters
MADRID - The last time Argentina met Spain in the Davis Cup, in the 2008 final in Mar del Plata, Argentina, the South Americans were firm favorites to claim their first title, but their challenge was wrecked by infighting within the team.

The Spanish, without talisman Rafael Nadal, pulled off a dramatic victory on the indoor hard court for a third triumph in nine years, Fernando Verdasco battling from two sets to one down to beat Jose Acasuso and secure an unassailable 3-1 lead.

With clay king Nadal leading the charge and the 2011 final to be played on the red dust indoors in Seville, Spain, the boot is very much on the other foot and anything other than a Spanish victory - giving them a third title in four years and fifth overall - would be a major surprise.

Argentina, who have Juan Monaco, Juan Ignacio Chela and Eduardo Schwank alongside Juan Martin Del Potro and David Nalbandian in the squad, say the personality clashes that ruined their 2008 bid are firmly behind them.

“That’s in the past, completely in the past,” Del Potro, the 2009 U.S. Open champion, told a news conference on Tuesday.

“After that [2008] final, we grew up, I’ve improved my game a lot and now we have another chance,” added the rangy 23-year-old, Argentina’s top-ranked player and world No. 11.

“Here it’s different players, different surface, different stadium and this time Spain is the favorite.

“It’s going to be different than Mar del Plata, if we are in good shape and remain focused.”

Verdasco said he knew the Argentines were hurt by the defeat three years ago.

“They were at home and favorites and it’s clear they want to pay us back,” he said. “But we are preparing as if we have never won it before.”

Argentina’s players have been working hard on clay and are hoping the fact that neither Del Potro nor Nalbandian have played a competitive match since October will give them a fresh attack the Spanish may lack.

Nadal and Ferrer competed on a hard court at last week’s World Tour Finals in London, with Ferrer reaching the last four, and have had less than a week to make the switch to their favored clay.

However, getting the better of either world No. 2 Nadal or No. 5 Ferrer will be a tall order for the visitors as neither player has lost a Davis Cup singles match on the surface.

Nadal boasts a 14-0 clay record and 18-1 overall, while Ferrer is 11-0 on clay and 16-4 on all surfaces.

Reuters

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