Spain to face Argentina in Davis Cup final

September 22nd, 2008 - 1:08 pm ICT by IANS  

Madrid, Sep 22 (DPA) Argentina and two-time champion Spain will face off in November’s Davis Cup final after victories against Russia and the US in their respective semi-final matches.Rafael Nadal waited out a lengthy rain delay before assuring Spain of its place with a 6-4, 6-0, 6-4 defeat of Andy Roddick in Madrid, while Juan del Potro beat Igor Andreev in straight sets in Buenos Aires to seal a narrow 3-2 win for Argentina.

Nikolay Davydenko initially kept Russia in the contest, posting a comeback over David Nalbandian 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7-2), 6-0, but del Potro showed he is an up and coming star by beating Andreev 6-4, 6-2, 6-1 to put Argentina into its third final following defeats in 1981 and 2006.

“It’s a dream for sure,” said del Potro. “I want to treasure this moment because I don’t know if it will happen again.”

While Argentina still searches for its first Davis Cup crown, Spain will be bidding for a third trophy after winning in 2000 over Australia and in 2004 against the US in Seville.

Nadal’s superiority on clay following a one-hour, 40-minute delay to the start of play at the Las Ventas bullring was unquestioned after the world number one claimed his 117th win on clay against just two defeats dating to April 2005.

“This is one of the most beautiful feelings I’ve ever experienced in my career,” said the delighted winner.

But the crowd favourite had to work to close out victory in just over two hours as Roddick saved five match points in the penultimate game.

The crowd of up to 21,000 filling the arena were not disappointed in the end after their top player iced the 3-1 weekend victory over the holders, with Roddick losing two Davis singles matches after winning his previous nine.

Nadal said he had been suffering physically and is looking forward to a week or more of time off.

“I had a glut muscle injury, but I played through it,” he said. “I’ve done enough for now, and I’m looking forward to some time off.”

Roddick, ranked eighth, dropped to 2-4 over his career against Nadal after beating the Spaniard in February in Dubai.

“When he hits like he was today, there’s not a lot you can do,” Roddick said. “He’s the best clay courter of all time. It was a high risk and one high reward. There is nothing worse than facing Nadal on clay.”

The odds were stacked heavily against the visitors, who stood 0-2 after the opening day. The US has come back from that kind of deficit only once in 33 attempts, in 1934 against Australia.

Nadal earned the first set against Roddick - who had ended a nine-match Davis Cup win streak with his Friday loss to David Ferrer - with a break in the seventh game, with the American suddenly unable to make an impression in the second set as his game collapsed.

The third also went Nadal’s way with Roddick’s late-match heroics only postponing the inevitable.

Both men fired eight aces, a low total for Roddick, who failed on all seven of his break points and dropped his own serve five times.

Argentina will host the final Nov 21-23, with the venue likely to be the Parque Roca in Buenos Aires.

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