Tomas Berdych recovers from a dip in his level in that set as he pulls out a hard fought straight sets win. Carlos Berlocq troubled the Czech often but was very poor on the decisive points and quality did tell. Berlocq however did not disgrace himself on his Davis Cup singles debut but when Juan Martin Del Potro withdrew through injury it was always going to be tough for Argentina to be the victors here.
3-6 3-6 4-6 GAME SET AND MATCH BERDYCH 6-3 6-3 6-4 – It’s not a great start for Berlocq has he quickly goes down 0-30, the latter when Berlocq is forced far too wide on the forehand side and nets. Berdych looks to have recovered from the blip and some powerful hitting forces another error into the net and THREE MATCH POINTS. Berdych controls the whole rally but when it comes to the killer shot, he nets the forehand down the line and it’s 15-40…the second however is taken when Berdych hits a cracking cross court forehand return winner!
Berlocq must hold to stay in the match, and the tie now..
3-6 3-6 4-5 – The mood is changing here and what looks like a drop shot with too much on it still works out for Berlocq as he volleys into the open court from the Berdych retrieval. Berdych moves into the net and makes a hash of the volley and it’s now 0-30 but ace number six halves the deficit. Berdych is looking tired now and another error brings up two more BREAK POINTS for Berlocq! The first is saved when Berlocq nets the return. Berdych comes up massive on the second hitting the backhand down the line which Berlocq can do very little about as it goes to deuce. Berdych eventually holds after some punishing forehands finally draw the backhand error from Berlocq.
3-6 3-6 4-4 – Berlocq’s soft drop volley over the net is working wonders and moves him to 15-15 after Berdych struck first on the Berlocq serve. A tired looking back into the net from Berdych makes it 30-15. However, Berdych picks up on a poorly selected drop shot from Berlocq and puts it away to make it 30-30. It’s a huge point now and somehow Berlocq wins it! The pair trade volleys at the net and it looks like Berdych will move to break point with a backhand volley but somehow the cross court pass from Berlocq on the run stays in! He cannot take the game point though so it goes to deuce. Berlocq is playing too short and down the middle and is rightly punished for it as Berdych gets the break point with a backhand winner down the line, but cannot take it as he puts a bad backhand into the net. Berdych misjudges a slice which hits the line and nets to give Berlocq another game point and finally holds when Berdych cannot do anything with another dropshot!
3-6 3-6 3-4 – Berlocq is still not giving up and the home crowd still feel something can happen here when Berlocq forces Berdych into a forehand long. A sloppy forehand goes wide for BREAK POINT #11 at 30-40..and HE FINALLY TAKES IT! Berlocq forces the error and it’s back on serve! BREAK BERLOCQ
3-6 3-6 2-4 – Berdych looks content to stick to the solitary break he has as Berlocq pulls a game back to love, finished off when the Czech puts a return long.
3-6 3-6 1-4 – Berlocq plays an excellent return game and a cracking return forces the error from Berdych which brings up three break points. The first is netted by Berlocq and the second is saved by a standing forehand down the line from Berdych and third is saved with a flick volley from Berdych. That’s now 0 for 9 on break opportunities from Berlocq but he will have a tenth opportunity after a wild forehand goes wide from Berdych. Again Berdych comes up trumps with a forehand winner down the line and if he holds here this should kill off any resistance from Berlocq. Berdych’s thinks he has held when a backhand attempt from Berlocq goes long – it takes umpire James Keothavong to confirm but he does and Berdych is just two games away now.
3-6 3-6 1-3 – The forehand down the line is working wonders still – if not for a winner, countless errors have been forced from Berlocq who puts another backhand retrieval long. A powerful inside out forehand gives Berdych an opening and a possible chance to kill off the match at 15-30. Berdych does well to follow a lob and hits it low at Berlocq who cannot pick up the volley and it’s TWO BREAK POINTS for Berdych..and the first is taken when Berlocq volley attempt goes long and wide from the Berdych pass attempt. BREAK BERDYCH
3-6 3-6 1-2 – The luck just isn’t falling for Berlocq at the moment as a netcord pushes a poor Berdych forehand over the net for 15-0. Berdych finishes off the first love hold of the match with a forehand winner down the line – his 34th of the match.
3-6 3-6 1-1 – It looks like Berlocq will get off to a good start on serve this set but he is pegged back from 30-0 to 30-30 when Berdych clips the line with a forehand. He gets out of danger when a backhand return goes long and confirms the hold with a forehand volley winner.
3-6 3-6 0-1 – Berlocq takes the first point of the set but Berdych recovers and an unreturnable sees him to 30-15 and he holds with another one to possibly be just 5 games away from a spot in the final.
Berlocq serve finally showed signs of weakness in that final game of the set and the third could end quickly if it doesn’t improve..
3-6 3-6 – Berdych looks determined to serve first in what could be possibly the final live set of this Davis Cup tie as he moves to 0-30 with the help of a drive volley into the open court. Three set points for Berdych now after the Czech hits a backhand return winner – his first of the match. Berlocq saves one with a forehand down the line but he can do very little about a second return of serve winner in the match as he takes the break. BREAK AND SET BERDYCH 6-3
3-6 3-5 – The crowd bursts into life when Berlocq hits a perfect half volley that Berdych cannot retrieve but he cannot get anything of note on a big first serve as the game moves to 15-15. A poor passing shot is punished by Berlocq who volleys again for a 15-30 lead. Another big point and Berlocq is hesitant yet again, failing to take the point. He slices into the net disappointingly at 40-30 as another chance goes begging and Berlocq yet again cannot get a Berdych second serve in play, hitting wide for the hold.
3-6 3-4 – Berdych is continue to punish some weak serving from Berlocq as he forces a forehand wide from Berlocq to pull up 30-30 but then misses a big chance for the insurance break. Berlocq yet again pulls out the hold when Berdych nets the return on the first serve of Berlocq.
Berdych is winning the all important battles in the important games and points, he is 2/3 on break points while Berlocq is 0/6 and 0/4 in the match.
3-6 2-4 – Berdych takes advantage of a short ball to go 15-0, Berlocq is trying all sorts to disrupt the Czech but has been struggling to do so on the important points. However he pulls to 30-30 and gets himself another break point with an excellent point, getting the better of a big rally and ending with a flick volley into the open court. A kick serve puts Berlocq off and all he can do is net the return. He gets another after a loose forehand from Berdych goes wide…but it goes away once more when Berlocq hits long. Berlocq goes for the forehand down the line when the cross court option was far better, and is suitably punished as it goes wide to bring up game point. Berdych holds once more hitting the forehand into the open court after pulling Berlocq wide with a second serve.
3-6 2-3 – Berlocq stays in touch with Berdych with a comfortable hold and is still playing some exciting clay court tennis, he finishes off the hold to 15 with a volley on the slide to pull within one game of Berdych.
3-6 1-3 – Berlocq has openings at 0-15 and 15-30 for a possible break back opportunity but Berdych rescues both to get to 40-30 but the cross court that served Berlocq well in the first returns to take the game to deuce. A mishit lands just on the line and Berlocq awkwardly can do very little but serve it up for Berdych to put away with ease for a second game point. The second is also saved as Berlocq continues to fight and is rewarded with a forehand long from his opponent. A huge ace brings up a third opportunity and he eventually holds after wrong footing Berlocq to put a forehand away.
One break was enough in the first set for Berdych and you would expect the same would apply here unless Berlocq can pull out something special.
3-6 1-2 – It is vital Berlocq holds here but a double fault doesn’t help his cause on the first point of the game and an error on the second makes his situation even worse for 0-30. Berdych gets the luck going his way this time, moving to 0-40 and THREE BREAK POINTS. The first is saved as Berlocq reverts to his trusty drop shot but the second is taken with a slice cross court with Berlocq nowhere to be found. BERDYCH BREAKS
3-6 1-1 – Berdych goes 40-0 up but a double fault and a favourable Argentine net cord see two of the game points squandered. The last is also squandered with Berlocq hustling and he is rewarded as a volley goes into the net for deuce. A deep return forces the error long from Berdych and it’s BREAK POINT, but Berlocq cannot take advantage of a second serve kicker so it’s back to deuce. Berlocq will get another chance after poor shot selection from Berdych leads to him netting a very gettable drop shot. This also goes begging as the backhand pass has too much on it as it goes long. Berdych finally gets out of danger and confirms the hold despite his first serve going completely missing – only 4/12 that service game.
3-6 1-0 – Berdych fails to put away a volley at 15-0 and is punished as Berlocq retrieves well and forces the Czech into another which he cannot convert. A double fault does little to distract Berlocq though as he holds in the first game of the second set thanks to an error from Berdych wide on the forehand yet again.
The importance of Berdych’s forehand is all to see in the stats, he has 10 forehand winners to 0 backhand winners.
Czech Republic are now two sets away from a Final with Spain after David Ferrer sealed victory earlier for the Spaniards with a 3-1 win over John Isner.
3-6 – Berdych drops the first two points on his serve as the home crowd come to life again but an ace pulls one back. Berdych moves in to take a forehand and never looks comfortable as it goes into the net for two break points. Berlocq has a second serve opportunity on the first but the Czech holds his nerve and puts a way a smash for the first one saved. A huge serve followed by a forehand into the open court saves the second and a timely ace brings up set point. Berlocq goes for the backhand winner down the line but puts it just wide as Berdych holds for the set. SET BERDYCH 6-3
It’s not just the Argentina supporters being told to calm down and be quiet as the Czech supporters are also handed a warning as Berdych gets ready to serve for the set.
3-5 – This time the drop shot is far less effective as Berdych chases it down and pushes it across the net for 0-15. A strong serve puts Berlocq in control from the off and he ties it up at 15-15 with a forehand down the line. A weak second serve next time leaves him struggling and he cannot do anything but hit long when a Berdych forehand is hit to the corner. Another second serve is punishing in similar fashion, but this time the backhand from Berlocq goes wide for a two break points. The Argentina crowd is deflated when a tight Berlocq hits his second serve into the net for a double fault and BERDYCH BREAKS.
3-4 – Berlocq is playing some intelligent clay court tennis and another well timed drop shot gives him an opening at 0-15. A stop volley at the net isn’t timed well enough though as Berdych hits the pass. Big serving from the Czech sees him to two game points but the first is wasted with a forehand long. A first serve into the net gets the noisy crowd going but Berlocq himself gets overexcited and the powerful forehand return is netted.
3-3 – Berlocq responds with a comfortable hold of his own to 15 and is serving well, he has only dropped 5 points on serve so far.
2-3 – Berdych quickly moves to a 40-0 lead but nets from the Berlocq cross court forehand and doesn’t seem to enjoy playing on that shot. A big serve though seals the hold as Berlocq can only net the return.
2-2 – Berdych is taking advantage of the short ball and goes 0-15 up with another forehand down the line but cannot do anything as Berlocq hits a cross court winner for 15-15. Hitting down the line is serving well for Berdych as Berlocq cannot do anything but net another forehand. A drop shot looks to have been left too short when Berdych retrieves it but Berlocq rescues the situation well stooping down to hit into the open court for 30-30. A drop shot is disguised well to bring up game point for Berlocq and he manages to take it with a crazy half-volley winner while spinning around.
1-2 – The forehand is improving from Berdych as he hits into an open court for 15-0 but his Argentine opponent showcases one of his own with a powerful forehand down the line and another cross court has too much on it to give Berdych a chance. 15-30 and Berlocq has a slight opening on return but he can do very little to stop Berdych whose powerful hitting is forcing errors from the Berlocq racket early on.
1-1 – Berlocq takes the first point on serve after a poor miss from Berdych on the forehand into the open court, opting to go too near the line. A backhand error long makes it 15-15. Another tame forehand goes into the net but it works next time round with Berlocq unable to get anything of note on a strong forehand of the Czech’s. Berlocq holds after Berdych cannot make it in time to a drop shot and a forehand into the open court after correctly judging a net cord deflection.
0-1 – The rowdy Argentina crowd are having to be told to be quiet after every point and Berlocq’s first point, a smash into the open court for 15-15 brings huge cheers. Berlocq doesn’t look overawed by the occasion as of yet and forces a volley error to save one of two game points. He cannot do anything about the second as an ace down the T gives Berdych the first game of this all important rubber.
It will be a big ask for Carlos Berlocq to defeat Tomas Berdych in his first ever Davis Cup singles match, Berdych has won both of their encounters including one at the World Team Cup in Dusseldorf this year on German clay. Tomas Berdych will serve first.
Berlocq – Berdych
Live Commentary will commence here as soon as the players start warming up..
Monaco – Berdych 1-6 6-4 6-1 4-6 4-6
1-6 6-4 6-1 4-6 4-6 SET and MATCH BERDYCH! The Czech strikes again and takes the match to level the tie at 1-1! He breaks Monaco to love once more and after 4 hours and 2 minutes, a very entertaining encounter comes to an end.
1-6 6-4 6-1 4-6 4-5 BREAK! Here we go again! Pico Monaco finds an extra gear and after coming up with three absolutely spotless winners, he earns himself a triple break point. This seems to be too much even for the up until now calm looking Berdych, who nets a routine forehand approach and the set is back on track.
1-6 6-4 6-1 4-6 3-5 Duty fulfilled from Monaco, holds to 15 and we shall see how will Berdych respond to the pressure when serving for the match after 3 hours and 54 minutes.
1-6 6-4 6-1 4-6 2-5 Superb game from both players, Berdych hits a breathtaking backhand down the line whilst moving backwards, followed by a superior rally with a Monaco forehand finish. The Czech takes the game to 30 with a help of a well needed ace. Huge hold for Berdych. The Argentine will serve to stay in the match….
1-6 6-4 6-1 4-6 2-4 The intensity returns into the stadium, the Argentine crowd is waking up again from their half an hour nap. Berdych starts the game with an unbelievable forehand winner, just to produce three consecutive unforced errors to gift Monaco two game points. Despite letting the Czech back into the game (deuce), the Argentine eventually takes the game to the huge cheers of the spectators.
1-6 6-4 6-1 4-6 1-4 BREAK! Monaco gets one of the breaks back, but is it just delaying the inevitable or is it a start of a huge comeback? At 30-30, Berdych’s forehand approach hits the netcord and sails long, just before the Czech sends a backhand long to hand Monaco the game.
1-6 6-4 6-1 4-6 0-4 BREAK! Two double faults from Monaco and suddenly he is facing another three break points. You could perhaps call them matchpoints. This has just turned into a nightmare for the Argentine as Berdych breaks for the fourth time in row and is only two games away from victory.
1-6 6-4 6-1 4-6 0-3 Everything seems to be going Berdych’s way now, and despite Monaco reducing a 0-40 deficit after winning a couple of points and pumping his fist again, the Czech wrapped it up to put some distance between him and the Argentine.
1-6 6-4 6-1 4-6 0-2 BREAK! Berdych is striking the ball with some dominance again, forcing Monaco to come up with his very best. But whatever is going on in the Argentine’s mind, he has certainly lost quite a bit of confidence since leading 4-2 in the fourth set. After missing two routine ground strokes, he finds himself two break points down. Monaco comes up with an ace as an answer to the first one, but the Czech storms the net on the second one, putting away a forehand volley for a 2-0 lead.
1-6 6-4 6-1 4-6 0-1 The Czech carries the momentum into the decider, holds to 15. Finding his serve again and with Monaco still trying to recover from the last set’s missed opportunities, Berdych takes a lead in the match after having trailed for a long time.
1-6 6-4 6-1 4-6 BREAK and SET BERDYCH! An unforced error from Pico Monaco and a smash winner from the Czech give Berdych a 30-0 lead. After coming into the net, he causes the Argentine all sorts of trouble. Berdych makes sure he doesn’t let this opprotunity to escape him as he takes the first set point and forces a decider. What a turn in the match!
1-6 6-4 6-1 4-5 Suddenly, Berdych finds himself ahead and it will be the Argentine who will have to serve to stay in this set. The momentum has swung slightly towards the Czech, who earns himself a game point after killing a high forehand volley. On the other side, Monaco misses and easy looking backhand volley and this match could well go the distance now….
1-6 6-4 6-1 4-4 BREAK! Monaco is feeling the pressure and Berdych senses it. A few unusual unforced errors from the Argentine hand the Czech a tripple break point. He takes the very first one as he steps inside the baseline and launches one of his forehand rockets.
1-6 6-4 6-1 4-3 Pico Monaco shows some superb defence skills, and the Czech is trailing 30-15 once more. After Berdych pulls himself together to take a 40-30 lead, the Argentine makes his life just a bit more difficult when he takes the game to deuce with a superb volley finish at the end of a top notch rally. However, the Czech holds nerve and reducing the lead, Monaco will have to prove that he is capable of serving this one out.
1-6 6-4 6-1 4-2 Monaco is closer to completing this huge task, but he is thinking very clearly. As the shadow creeps across the court, it makes it a bit more difficult for the players to see the ball with 100% clearance. It doesn’t seem to bother the Argentine though, an ace and a Berdych return miss give him the well desired lead.
1-6 6-4 6-1 3-2 Berdych hangs in the fourth set, dropping only one point in this service game. However, he will need to take Monaco’s serve sooner rather than later to stay in the match.
1-6 6-4 6-1 3-1 The Argentine consolidates the break with yet another game to love and Berdych looks almost beaten out there. There must surely be something more left in the Czech, perhaps he should let his frustration out and show his anger – that might help him to get back into the match.
1-6 6-4 6-1 2-1 BREAK! Monaco is sensing the big moment here, after Berdych hits another double fault and overshoots his forehand, the Argentine is gifted a break point at 40-30 up. The Czech can’t seem to raise his game and as he can’t seem to find the court with his subsequent ground stroke, the hell breaks loose. It’s all on Monaco’s serve now.
1-6 6-4 6-1 1-1 What a response from the Argentine! Holds to love and this surely puts some more pressure on Berdych (the crowd will surely not help the Czech either).
1-6 6-4 6-1 0-1 An important hold for the Czech, who will need to forget quickly about the third set, simply erase it out of his mind..With Del Potro and Nalbandian watching on, Monaco will try to beat Berdych for the first time in his career (he has lost in all of the 5 previous meetings against him).
1-6 6-4 6-1 SET MONACO! A couple of hiccups from the Argentine, but he accomplishes his second set mission as he holds his serve to 30. This match is almost a must win for the Czech’s if they want to keep their chances alive for the tie win.
1-6 6-4 5-1 BREAK! This is turning into a one man show right now! Monaco shows some magic hands as he hits an unbelievable drop shot. Even the longer rallies are completely under his control now and when Berdych goes 15-40 down, he gifts the game to the Argentine with a double fault. Monaco will be serving for the second set.
1-6 6-4 4-1 A crucial hold for Monaco. He is all over Berdych’s and despite the Czech hitting one or two massive forehands, he can’t seem to break down the Argentine’s defence, who takes the gave to 15. It will be a big task for the Czech to come back from this, especially in front of the fired up crowd.
1-6 6-4 3-1 BREAK! A couple of winners from Berdych’s racket (including a forehand volley) hand him the 40-15 lead. But after he hits his 3rd double fault of the match and nets a forehand, he finds himself at deuce. As Monaco takes the advantage, probably the best rally of the match follows, with a happy ending for the Argentine, who is striking the ball as clean as never before.
1-6 6-4 2-1 An excellent service game from Monaco. His second love game of the match. The best possible answer to the failed break point chances in the previous game.
1-6 6-4 1-1 Each game seems to be going the distance – Berdych comes up with an amazing backhand down the line passing shot after he finds himself 15-30 down, and averts yet another break point opportunity for Monaco with a lethal forehand. As the Argentine hits the drop shot of the game, Berdych is forced to come up with some more answers not to fall behind at the start of this set. He does so and levels the score at 1-1.
1-6 6-4 1-0 Now then! The Argentine finally manages to hold serve, it almost feels like a break for him. As he goes up 40-30, Berdych hits an approach shot and comes up to the net, but is unable to handle Monaco’s bullet forehand down the line.
1-6 6-4 BREAK and SET MONACO! Unbelievable! Neither of the players seems to be able to hold serve! Berdych’s first serve lets him down here, but also all credit to Monaco, who comes up with some magic shots. After coming in to the net, he produces a very cute looking drop shot to give himself two set points. As Berdych’s forehand misfires in the very next rally, the Argentine crowd jumps up on their feet in celebration. We have got a match on our hands here!
1-6 5-4 BREAK! Another tight game as Berdych is not giving up the set yet. Monaco hits an easy looking forehand way past the baseline, giving the Czech the chance to break back yet again. Berdych doesn’t need a special invitation as he takes it with arms wide open. That makes it four breaks in a row now. A lifeline for the Czech and anything is possible in this set….
1-6 5-3 BREAK! Monaco breaks again. He makes it three breaks in a row and he will serve to level the match at one set apiece. Both players are using the full width of the court, with the Argentine coming out on top in the end as he takes Berdych’s serve to 30.
1-6 4-3 BREAK! Berdych strikes again! Monaco comes up with a backhand winner down the line to open up the game. These kind of winner haven’t been that common for him up till now, which just shows he has raised his level of game by quite a lot. However, he produces a double fault at 30-30 and Berdych takes the first break point opportunity with a forehand passing shot. Set back on track once again.
1-6 4-2 BREAK! The Argentine seems to be on fire right now, goes 40-15 up. Berdych manages to save the first break point, but nets a forehand approach on the second one and the crowd is getting louder by the minute. Even Maradona stands up and shouts out his supporting words to Monaco.
1-6 3-2 A lot more convincing and positive game from Monaco, he cruises through it without dropping a single point. The athmosphere in the stadium is starting to pick up and you can be sure that they will give Monaco every bit of support they can to help him to win this one.
1-6 2-2 The Czech manages does what his opponent failed to do, that is consolidate the break. To the support of some Czech fans in the crowd (can’t be that many), he holds to 15 and the set is back on track.
1-6 2-1 BREAK! Berdych finds the best possible answer to dropping hi serve in the previous game. He battles his way back into the set after taking Monaco’s serve to 15. Some big hitting from the Czech player helped him to take control of the game and he finished it off with a crushing forehand winner.
1-6 2-0 BREAK! The Argentine is trying to move the Czech from side to side, it pays off as he earns himself a couple of break points at 40-15 up. Berdych saves the first one, but is unable to avert the second one and as his forehand sails long, Monaco takes a 2-0 lead.
1-6 1-0 Monaco starts the second set with on a lot more positive note as he takes the opening game to 15.
In a very convincing first set, Berdych managed to take his opponent’s serve three times to close it out with a 6-1 scoreline and take the first step towards equalling the tie between Argentina and Czech Republic
Del Potro bt Stepanek 6-4 6-4 6-2
6-2 Game, Set, Match Del Potro This has truly been a match of two Del Potros. The crowd prefer this one; the one who serves strongly and keeps Stepanek pegged back with punishing groundstrokes. Del Potro only needs one of his two match points to finish it as Stepanek returns a solid serve weakly, hitting the net. Del Potro takes it 6-4 6-4 6-2.
5-2 Too little too late? Stepanek serves strongly and then forces Del Potro to commit with a deft lob. Stepanek is playing like he did in the early games; making Del Potro do all the running and hitting winners when the opportunity arises. Stepanek holds to love, but the crowd are unmoved. They realise that this is just a stay of execution.
5-1 Stepanek puts some wicked spin on a shot up the line yet somehow Del Potro reaches it. Stepanek returns at full stretch sending Del Potro scurrying to the back of the court to no avail. The Czech player is proving that he still has the class and the heart to cause Del Potro problems, but his range has let him down today and again Stepanek hits long to give Del Potro game point. A weak return of serve from Stepanek sets him up for another devestating forehand from the Argentinian. 5-1.
4-1 Another break! Stepanek will be starting to rue chances like the passing shot that never was; Del Potro on the otherhand is becoming a deuce specialist and again he forces Stepanek to play his return directly into the net. Up go the Argentinian’s arms as the crowd roar; Del Potro can sense victory now.
3-1 Deuce Stepanek double faults again to give Del Potro a 30-15 lead. The Czech’s situation is looking dicey but he manages to pull it back to 30-40 with some excellent serving. A comfortable hold would have been just what the doctor ordered for Stepanek at this stage, but a nice looking passing shot goes wide and instead he faces another deuce.
3-1 Stepanek looks hot and bothered out there, but he’s still returning salvo after salvo from Del Potro’s forehand. Still, it is Stepanek who is doing most of the running now as Del Potro has found his rhythm. The Argentinian shows that he’s not out of the woods yet by wasting a golden opportunity to close out the game when Stepanek was already wrongfooted, but a quick two points won at deuce give Del Potro a 3-1 lead in the third.
2-1 The roar is only silenced temporarily, as Del Potro quickly acquires another break point. He doesn’t need a third. Stepanek’s serve is broken.
1-1 Deuce Nice idea from Stepanek as he attempts a deft lob to bring Del Potro into the net. Unfortunately he hits the net yet again and finds himself 30-15 down. Still coursing with adrenaline after the heroics of the last game, Stepanek charges the net once again, this time hitting long to give Del Potro a break point and the home crowd another chance to roar. But that roar is silenced as Stepanek forces deuce.
1-1 Possibly a key moment in the match. An unbelievable rally sees Stepanek covering some serious ground on the sunbaked Argentinian clay. Four times he finds himself at full stretch, sliding to return apparently unreturnable Del Potro shots; four times he returns. Del Potro finally saves the break point after some heroic work from Stepanek. The Argentinian then forces the advantage and Stepanek hits long. Del Potro holds, somehow.
0-1 Deuce Del Potro plays a deft forehand but it is a little too long. The crowd look dismayed but he composes himself and follows up with a great backhand to bring the game to 15-15. Another shot is hit long by the Argentinian to gift Stepanek a break point, however it is Stepanek’s turn to hit long and force deuce. Stepanek proves his class with a beautiful backhand which kisses the line and saves a game point, before suddenly finding himself with the advantage.
0-1 Stepanek starts his comeback with a routine hold as we begin the third set.
6-4 Game, Set Del Potro Stepanek starts cautiously and looks to be doing a good job of keeping Del Potro at arms length as the Argentinian closes in on the second set. This time Del Potro hits the net, leaving the game poised at 30-30, but the Argentinian succeeds in forcing set point. A strong serve is only half returned by Stepanek, giving Del Potro the opportunity to surge to the net and smash home a volley in front of his adoring fans. What a way to win a set.
5-4 Maybe it’s the thought of serving for the set in the back of his mind, but Del Potro grants Stepanek a reprieve. The Czech player wins his first game in five attempts.
5-3 Del Potro now resembles a steamroller as he pushes Stepanek further and further back on the court. With each powerful return Stepanek’s resolve is tested and again he hits the net, allowing Del Potro to hold to love with little resistance. The Argentinian has Stepanek sussed at the moment, and the Czech needs another gameplan.
4-3 Break! As Del Potro’s confidence grows so does Stepanek’s frustration. A lack lustre forehand by Stepanek hits the net to give Del Potro another break point before some brilliant passing shots from the Argentinian put Stepanek on the back foot. Del Potro’s forehand is too strong for the Czech who returns into the net and prompts another roar from the Buenos Aires crowd.
3-3 Del Potro is proving his strength on both backhand and forehand, and he needs to.Stepanek has already demonstrated his willingness to draw Del Potro into the net. The Argentinian gives Stepanek a taste of his own medicine, sending him charging back and forwards across the court before the Czech hits the net. 30-0. Another ace from Del Potro all but seals the game, before Stepanek hits long and the set is tied once again.
2-3 Break back! Del Potro is far from done, much to the home crowd’s delight. The Argentinian takes advantage of some sloppy serving from Stepanek to reach break point, before the Czech player hits the net and relinquishes his serve with a whimper. The crowd love it; Stepanek is visibly frustrated.
1-3 Break! Del Potro’s service jitters are back as Stepanek races to a 0-40 lead on his opponent’s serve. The Czech player looks to be enjoying his netplay and races in yet again, this time playing a gentle lob that Del Potro hasn’t a prayer of reaching.
1-2 This time Stepanek picks his moment to commit, rushing into the net after a Del Potro fumble at the baseline. He finishes clinically. Del Potro is still working, lifted by the home crowd, but Stepanek is dragging him all over the court. The two players commit once more and Stepanek’s net shot is too strong for Del Potro who is left wanting. Stepanek holds.
1-1 It appears that serving lessons have been learnt from the first set. Del Potro holds to love.
0-1 Del Potro is still working hard as the second set begins, but his stamina is holding out for now. However, Stepanek’s serving is improving and he holds with relative ease.
6-4 Game, Set Del Potro I think even Del Potro is surprised about this. The Argentinian has gone from struggling to hold his own serve to breaking his opponent and serving out the set. Stepanek can do nothing to stem the Del Potro tide in this game and resorts to challenging an ace. He fails, though, and Del Potro holds to love to clinch the set.
5-4 Break! Stepanek is making Del Potro work, but nothing seems to be coming off for him in this game. A few lazy errors from Stepanek give Del Potro a suprise break in the nick of time. Del Potro now serves for the set in front of a partizan crowd.
4-4 Nervey hold for Del Potro. Stepanek challenges an ace and wins, quickly achieving his first break point, which he squanders. Then another, which he squanders again. Bouyed by the crowd, Del Potro forces Stepanek wide with an excellent shot from the baseline. Advantage: Del Potro. A good rally ends with Stepanek hitting the net. Del Potro holds… just.
3-4 Deuce Del Potro hits his second ace of the game as both players show their class. Stepanek commits once again in a frantic attempt to save game point, this time it works as Del Potro is left spoilt for choice over which way to close out the game and instead hits straight into the net. Some classy returning from Stepanek forces duece for the 2nd time in as many games.
3-4 If Del Potro continues to get the best of the play at the net, Stepanek is going to have to think of another tactic. Del Potro is being made to work hard but an excellent shot down the line is met with a roar from the home support, but the Argentinian squanders the subsequent break point as Stepanek forces deuce. Despite double faulting, the Czech eventually holds serve.
3-3 Del Potro looks frustrated as once more he is drawn into the net by his opponent. This time he hits long, giving the resourceful Stepanek a point on his serve. Have Del Potro’s serving woes returned? It appears not as an excellent forehand wrong foots Stepanek on the baseline. The Argentinian prevails, despite ending up on the deck at one point, and ties the set.
2-3 They’re both at it, now. A cheeky lob from Stepanek commits Del Potro to come to the net, who promptly does the same to his opponent. Del Potro wins the point after a brief exchange of shots at the net, but it is Stepanek who prevails, taking the game on the next point.
2-2 Del Potro was paying attention it seems. Game on.
1-2 Barring a spirited rally at 0-30, Stepanek has just given Del Potro a quick lesson in how to comfortably hold serve.
1-1 Nervous Stuff! Some great work on the return from Stepanek has Del Potro moving all over the clay. Stepanek draws him close to the net then plays a deft passing shot to make it 15 -30. Del Potro just isn’t making those first serves count, giving Stepanek the chance to really work him from the baseline. A mistake from Stepanek eventually gives the Argentinian the game following a tense deuce, but Del Potro does not look comfortable.
0-1 Two points quickly go the way of serve, then another, but Del Potro composes himself and battles back to make the Czech work for his first service game. He eventually prevails, though, 40-30.
0-0 We’re underway! Argentinian flags are out in force, but it is Stepanek who serves first.
Live commentary of the first singles matches will commence here tomorrow (Friday) at 13:45 GMT.
Juan Martin del Potro – Radek Stepanek
Juan Monaco – Tomas Berdych
The Davis Cup semifinal tie between Argentina and Czech Republic is scheduled to start tomorrow with the first singles matches starting at 13:45 GMT.
Venue: Parque Roca, Buenos Aires, Argentina
First on court will be Juan Martin del Potro, who will take on Radek Stepanek. In the second singles match of the day, Juan Monaco will face 2012 US Open semifinalist Tomas Berdych. The doubles match is going to be played on Saturday, with the Argentine pair Carlos Berlocq and Eduardo Schwank challenging the Czechs Tomas Berdych and Radek Stepanek.
The final two single encounters are staged on Sunday, with Del Potro meeting Berdych and Monaco squaring off against Stepanek.
The 2009 US Open champion Del Potro’s appearance was questionable until a couple of days ago, as he is still suffering from a minor wrist injury and his doctors have advised him not to play in the tie. However, Delpo is eager to help his team to reach the second consecutive Davis Cup final (Argentina lost the title match against Spain in 2011) and decided to give it a go.
In the head to head between these two countries, the Czechs are ahead with a 3-1 lead.