Spain leads USA 2-1 in Davis Cup semifinal

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For the last singles matches Live Commentary, please click here: USA vs Spain Davis Cup 2012 Live Commentary

Bob and Mike Bryan improved their Davis Cup record on clay to 11-0 after defeating the Spanish pairing of Marc Lopez and Marcel Granollers in Gijon. The 6-3 3-6 7-5 7-5 win gives USA a slim chance of moving on to the Davis Cup final with the winning halving the 2-0 deficit they faced before today.

The Bryan’s started fast, winning the first 6 points and eventually breaking in their first return game of the match, only to drop serve once right away back. The vital game was the eighth of the set as the brothers took the first break point on offer before comfortably holding for a one set lead.

The momentum would soon swing the other way as the Spaniards went 3-0 up in the second, the last game being sealed by ten deuce game after nine break points were saved by Granollers and Lopez. Another marathon game followed, but the American’s got the better of it this time, saving three break points and facing seven deuces on their way to holding. Very little drama on the court would follow for the rest of the set as Spain tied it up, although Granollers was being troubled by a calf issue and called out the trainer.

Much like the first set the Bryan’s would take an early break, only to give it back again. This time it was in the fourth and eighth games respectively, with the brothers giving up serve at the first sign of danger in the set. With a tiebreak looming at *5-6, the Spaniards were unable to hold their nerve and would drop serve in a set of major importance.

It began to look like a mirror of the second set when Spain broke and consolidated for a 3-1 lead but they were unable to hang on and were again faced with the task of serving for a tiebreak once more, and failed yet again. Marc Lopez was the unfortunate one this time, double faulting on match point to end the third rubber.

Ferrer, Almagro come through tough encounters to give Spain 2-0 lead

David Ferrer didn’t have it all his own way in the first rubber against Sam Querrey, dropping the first set before picking up a hard fought 4-6 6-2 6-2 6-4 win. The rigours of an excellent US Open campaign were clear to see for Ferrer, who managed to lose the first set  from a break up. Two sloppy games saw Querrey take a shock set lead but he would pose very little trouble for much of the match after.

The second set saw Ferrer break serve at the first opportunity as well but he would make no such mistake this time, ensuring the set with the insurance break at 5-2 and served it out tie the match up. Ferrer would not see a break point on his serve in the third either as he broke in the fifth and seventh games for a 2-1 lead.

The fourth set was a little more nervy for Ferrer who began to tire. Nine break opportunities came and went for Querrey in this set as he began to read the Spaniard’s serve more and was beginning to get hot on the forehand. Sadly for the American’s, Querrey could not seal the deal and was ground down into making some poor errors on some of the opportunities while Ferrer played many of the pressure points well. As expected, Querrey would live to regret that as Ferrer needed just the second break point in the set to earn the break and serve for the match. Ferrer would rush into a 40-0 lead in the final game but needed three match points to finally seal the win and a 1-0 lead for Spain.

John Isner finally buckled under the pressure late on to add to his disappointing five set record as of late losing to Nicolas Almagro 4-6 6-4 4-6 6-3 5-7. With this defeat Isner is now 0-5 on the year in five set matches (losses to Lopez, Mathieu, Falla, Kohlschreiber).

The earlier sets were scattered with messy errors, Isner being guilty of almost a hundred of them. With 96 errors in total, it is a shock how this went with five sets. Almagro carved out nineteen break point opportunities but could not take advantage as Isner came up with clutch play (and aces) often on the big points in the match.

In the fifth set the tempo was upped as the capacity Gijon crowd were cheering on Almagro who was dominant on serve for much of the final set, except for in the fifth game where two break points were squandered by Isner. The latter was sealed after the Spaniard got the better of his American opponent in the longest rally of the match.

Sloppy errors from Isner at *4-5 had the noisy crowd on their feet, but minutes later they were in stunned silence as Isner rescued himself from a 15-40 hole with the help of three aces to save three match points. He would not be so lucky next time round as some awful volleying brought up another match point, which this time was taken to give Spain a 2-0 lead.

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