Saturday, April 12, 2008

Davis Cup - Argentina & Sweden Tied 1-1

Robin SODERLING brought Sweden back into their Davis Cup quarter-final against Argentina when he demolished Jose ACASUSO 6-0 6-4 6-1 on Friday. Earlier David NALBANDIAN had beaten Thomas JOHANSSON 6-2 5-7 6-4 6-2 in the opening rubber.

Team captain Alberto Mancini’s decision to play Acasuso ahead of the higher-ranked Guillermo CANAS and Juan MONACO backfired and Soderling strolled through the first set. ACASUSO came to life in the second set which produced four breaks of serve. However, the Argentine surrendered the set with a double fault in the 10th game.
Despite fanatical support from the home crowd, the third set was almost a repetition of the first.

ACASUSO said: “I’m angry, firstly because I lost and secondly because I was unable to raise my level…I didn’t serve well and never felt strong.”

Facing an opponent ranked 55 places below him, NALBANDIAN outclassed JOHANSSON in the opening set, finishing with a powerful backhand on his first set point.

“(NALBANDIAN’s) backhand is probably the best backhand on the tour,” JOHANSSON told reporters.

David retained momentum in the second set and took a 2-0 lead but former Australian Open champion JOHANSSON immediately broke back. The Argentine number one then showed signs of frustration, losing his serve in the 11th game after JOHANSSON produced a series of solid returns.

“I lost a little bit of focus,” NALBANDIAN said.

On a cloudy, misty morning and with the Parque Roca stadium only half full, NALBANDIAN regained his rhythm in the third set, taking his opponent’s serve early to lead 5-2. The experienced Swede broke back in the ninth game but NALBANDIAN replied with a break of his own in the next to take the third set.

Day 2 will resume with Gulliermo CANAS partnering NALBANDIAN against Jonas BJORKMAN & Robert LINDSTEDT.

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