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D Cup: Argentina 3 – 2 Sweden

Posted by gauloises1 on March 8, 2010

Guess who’s back.

That’s right. El Rey is in the house.

I’m still grinning like a fool about how this worked out, so can I recommend that you visit VamosDavid for their excellent match reports? I’ll  just be doing the hyperbole and silly picspams as per usual.

Now we’ve got that sorted out … The day didn’t start out too well for Argentina as Leonardo Mayer was first up against Robin Soderling, facing the difficult (and as it turned out, nigh-impossible) task of clinching the tie after the doubles left Argentina with a 2-1 lead. It didn’t work out so well.

One actually can’t blame Leo for throwing his toys out of the pram. I thought he played really well and kept the match very close as the scoreline shows. That said, the gulf in class clearly showed in key moments, and Robin was really impressive despite carrying the burden of keeping the tie alive. He’s turning into a great Davis Cup player and it’s a shame in some ways that he doesn’t really have anyone to back him up.

But you couldn’t fault Leo for effort. He was virtually crying as Robin served the match out in emphatic style, and left the court broken-hearted – without even any shirtless cuddling to make him (and us) feel better.

So that left the tie poised at 2-2 with one match to decide two nation’s fates. A tricky situation, delicately balanced between triumph and disaster, agony and elation. The kind of moment when you really need someone to step up and be the hero, someone who’s done it all before, who knows what it’s like to win and lose big, someone capable of bringing a bit of class and magic to the court … someone, not to put too fine a point on it, not Eduardo Schwank.

Well hello there.

It wasn’t, to be frank, Nalbandian’s best performance. Apparently he only decided ten minutes before the match that he was actually going to play, having felt some pain after the doubles yesterday, and he started off distinctly rusty and seemingly unsure of his tactics. Vinciguerra, in fact, missed several opportunities to impose himself at the beginning of the match which could have changed the course of the whole thing. As it was, Nalbandian seemingly won the first set through grim determination more than anything else.

After that he loosened up and almost at times looked like the Nalbandian of old (had anybody else forgotten a bit just how good that is? His ball-striking is basically the sex), outclassing Vinciguerra throughout the second set and might have won in straights had he not taken a tumble diving for an unexpectedly stinging cross-court forehand when he was serving to stay in the third. The fall seemed to jar him a bit (hopefully doing no lingering damage, please god) and the third set unexpectedly slipped away.

But when he came out for the fourth, he had a look on his face which said pretty clearly that he had no intention of losing it, and so it proved. 75 63 46 64, and still the bad daddy of Davis Cup.

We bow before you.

I don’t want to make it seem like Nalbandian won this tie single-handed. Leo Mayer did incredibly well to recover and win against Joachim Johansson, without which Argentina would have had no chance. Horacio Zeballos really impressed in the doubles and was probably the best player out there. But quite apart from the crucial fifth rubber, you can’t underestimate the value of experience and inspiration, and it seems like Nalbandian risked his playing health to provide both this weekend.

OK, I’ll stop gushing now. Who wants happy hugging Argies?

Russia next …

R4 – R.SODERLING (SWE) def. L.MAYER (ARG)
7-5  7-6(5)  7-5
R5 – D.NALBANDIAN (ARG) def. A.VINCIGUERRA (SWE)
7-5  6-3  4-6  6-4

 
 

9 Responses to “D Cup: Argentina 3 – 2 Sweden”

  1. Nic said

    Nalby’s ball stricking IS the sex. It really, really is.

  2. irefusetotellyou said

    All I can say is

    YAAAAAAAAAAAAAYAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY

    Tearful Horsey pictures had the potential to ruin my life … but Nalby saving the day balanced it all out.

    YAYAYYAYAYAYAYAYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY

    asdfklasdnfasdnfkjsdnkjfnasjgnadkgpoasjdfoipasuf89ya78yr23ibhkjaslnfa,msdf

    • gauloises1 said

      I would have ruined your life with proper tearful Horseface pictures, if I could have found them. It was heartbreaking. The Argies, at least the tennis-playing ones, seem to grieve and celebrate so whole-heartedly, it’s alternately heartbreaking and utterly gladdening.

      Anyway. I second your “asdfklasdnfasdnfkjsdnkjfnasjgnadkgpoasjdfoipasuf89ya78yr23ibhkjaslnfa,msdf”.

  3. […] on whether David ‘El Rey’ Nalbandian, the bad daddy of Davis Cup, can pull off another amazing rescue. Except this time he hasn’t played since Monte-Carlo and will have to face Nikolay Davydenko, […]

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