D Cup: France 5 – 0 Spain
Posted by gauloises1 on July 12, 2010
Bad news for Spain? Fairly comprehensive Davis Cup humiliation for the reigning champions. Good news for Spain? Pretty sure nobody in Spain noticed. Bad news for France? None. They were awesome.
A fantastic team effort from Les Bleus, starting off with Gael Monfils playing the kind of tennis that makes him almost impossible to not warm to against David Ferrer for two sets on Friday. Then, being Gael Monfils, he was distracted by something shiny, and lost the next two.
It looked very much like Ferru, five-set Davis Cup warrior that he is, would pull off another amazing comeback, and in some ways he perhaps deserved to. He certainly put in around 90% of Spain’s effort this weekend. However, Gael raced ahead in the fifth and even Ferru breaking serve as Monfils served for the match couldn’t get it done.
I missed the Llodra-Verdasco match but I wasn’t completely surprised by the result; Llodra has put in some great Davis Cup performances (albeit in doubles), can drive any player to distraction on his day, and Verdasco has been having a torrid time of it lately. Still a huge upset win for Llodra, who at 30 seems to be playing some of his best tennis lately.
This set up a fairly mouthwatering doubles clash between Benneteau/Llodra and Lopez/Verdasco, both great doubles teams that have delivered for their countries in the past. For two and a half sets it wasn’t much of a contest, though, as Bendra came out absolutely on fire; energetic, aggressive and intense. By contrast, Verdasco at times seemed hardly in the match and his serve wasn’t making much of an impact (I’ve not been keeping up with the injury latest there, but it looked to me like something was up). A sudden and inspired fightback at 4-2 down in the third kept Spain in it and the fourth was closely contested, especially after Spain saved three break points on Lopez’s serve. Crucially, a double-fault from Verdasco gave France the lead in the tiebreak and Benneteau served it out. Then came one of the most gleeful celebrations I’ve ever seen.
This is why we stalk them at Queens.
Both teams appeared more than a little hungover for today’s dead rubbers, with Gilles Simon and Julien Benneteau defeating Nicolas Almagro and Feliciano Lopez in straights. But it’s kind of understandable, given that this is the first time since 1932 that France have beaten Spain in Davis Cup – and without their highest-ranked player in Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, too. They will host Argentina in September and have a great chance of making it to the finals.
Hence the ritual jumping around in the showers.
As for Spain … well, they’ve won the last two. It’s only fair that someone else should have a go. I have to credit Ferru, though; not just because it felt like he was the only player who really showed up for this tie on that side, but because after the last dead rubber was done and the others exited as quickly as possibly, he stuck around to congratulate the French and sign autographs for the fans on his way out.
R1 – G.MONFILS (FRA) def. D.FERRER (ESP)
7-6(3) 6-2 4-6 5-7 6-4
R2 – M.LLODRA (FRA) def. F.VERDASCO (ESP)
6-7(5) 6-4 6-3 7-6(2)
R3 – J.BENNETEAU / M.LLODRA (FRA) def. F.LOPEZ / F.VERDASCO (ESP)
6-1 6-2 6-7(6) 7-6(5)
R4 – G.SIMON (FRA) def. N.ALMAGRO (ESP)
R5 – J.BENNETEAU (FRA) def. F.LOPEZ (ESP)