Monday, September 24, 2007

Davis Cup World Group Playoffs

Venue: Belgrade, Serbia (clay – indoors)

Novak Djokovic (SRB) d. Peter Luczak (AUS) 61 64 62
Lleyton Hewitt (AUS) d. Janko Tipsarevic (SRB) 62 36 46 61 61
Novak Djokovic/Nenad Zimonjic (SRB) d. Paul Hanley/Lleyton Hewitt (AUS) 36 64 63 62
Novak Djokovic (SRB) d. Chris Guccione (AUS) 63 76(3) 76(5)
Boris Pashanski (SRB) d. Peter Luczak (AUS) 46 63 61

The Djokster steals the show, winning three points and leading Serbia to its first World Group in 2008. Hewitt came down with a virus and wasn't able to take the court in reverse singles. Guccione subbed for him and wasn't able to do much to keep Australia in the tie.

AUSTRIA defeated BRAZIL 4-1
Venue: Innsbruck, Austria (carpet – indoors)

Jurgen Melzer (AUT) d. Thomaz Bellucci (BRA) 64 64 64
Stefan Koubek (AUT) d. Ricardo Mello (BRA) 62 63 63
Julian Knowle/Jurgen Melzer (AUT) d. Gustavo Kuerten/Andre Sa (BRA) 61 61 64
Jurgen Melzer (AUT) d. Ricardo Mello (BRA) 36 64 75
Andre Sa (BRA) d. Werner Eschauer (AUT) 64 63

No surprise here. Austria was always going to be favored at home on indoor carpet against Brazil. Kuerten made a return to competitive tennis, filling in for Marcelo Melo, Sa's usual doubles partner, who was otherwise engaged over the weekend.

PERU defeated BELARUS 4-1
Venue: Lima, Peru (clay – outdoors)

Ivan Miranda (PER) v Max Mirnyi (BLR) 64 36 76(6) 64
Luis Horna (PER) d. Vladimir Voltchkov (BLR) 36 67(4) 64 64 62
Max Mirnyi/Vladimir Voltchkov (BLR) d. Ivan Miranda/Mateus Silva (PER) 63 75 62
Luis Horna (PER) d. Max Mirnyi (BLR) 64 75 46 76(4)
Matias Silva (PER) d. Andrei Karatchenia (BLR) 64 64

Horna (pictured) becomes Peru's hero after his four-set win over Mirnyi qualified Peru for the 2008 World Group for the first time.

ISRAEL defeated CHILE 3-2
Venue: Ramat Hasharon, Israel (hard – outdoors)

Dudi Sela (ISR) d. Nicolas Massu (CHI) 63 64 67(3) 64
Fernando Gonzalez (CHI) d. Noam Okun (ISR) 46 63 75 64
Jonathan Erlich/Andy Ram (ISR) d. Fernando Gonzalez/Nicolas Massu (CHI) 26 76(1) 62 36 10-8
Dudi Sela (ISR) d. Fernando Gonzalez (CHI) 46 76(5) 57 76(7) 63

Paul Capdeville (CHI) d. Noam Okun (ISR) 21 ret.

Sela (pictured) is making quite a name for himself among Israeli male tennis players. Earlier this year, he almost defeated Marat Safin at the Australian Open. Now, he's his nation's hero after outlasting Gonzalez in five tight sets. Another country makes its debut into the World Group in 2008.

Venue: Wimbledon, London, Great Britain (grass – outdoors)

Andy Murray (GBR) d. Marin Cilic (CRO) 36 64 62 46 63
Tim Henman (GBR) d. Roko Karanusic (CRO) 64 63 63
Tim Henman/Jamie Murray (GBR) d. Marin Cilic/Lovro Zovko (CRO) 46 64 76(3) 75
Andy Murray (GBR) d. Roko Karanusic (CRO) 64 76(4)
Marin Cilic (CRO) d. Jamie Baker (GBR) 64 64

Tim Henman's last hoorah and he's able to go out in style, clenching the tie alongside Jamie Murray against Croatia. Ivan Ljubicic retired from Davis Cup play last year. Henman is all done with competitive tennis on the ATP. A true gentleman, I wish him well in his life's endeavors.

Venue: Prague, Czech Republic (carpet – indoors)

Roger Federer (SUI) d. Radek Stepanek (CZE) 63 62 67(4) 76(5)
Tomas Berdych (CZE) d. Stanislas Wawrinka (SUI) 76(2) 64 75
Tomas Berdych/Radek Stepanek (CZE) d. Yves Allegro/Roger Federer (SUI) 36 57 76(7) 64 64
Roger Federer (SUI) d. Tomas Berdych (CZE) 76(5) 76(10) 63
Radek Stepanek (CZE) d. Stanislas Wawrinka (SUI) 76(3) 63 76(4)

Stepanek (pictured) continues his good run of form defeating Wawrinka and clenching the tie for his nation against Switzerland. But it was Stepanek and Berdych's great comeback in doubles that told the tale of the tape for this tie. Raja told the world that his vanquishers were lucky that he couldn't take advantage of the lead and capitilize on some break points late in the match. Okay, Serena.

ROMANIA depeated JAPAN 3-2
Venue: Osaka, Japan (carpet – indoors)

Takao Suzuki (JPN) d. Victor Hanescu (ROM) 76(4) 61 76(4)
Andrei Pavel (ROM) d. Go Soeda (JPN) 63 67(7) 75 63
Satoshi Iwabuchi/Takao Suzuki (JPN) d. Florin Mergea/Horia Tecau (ROM) 64 64 64
Andrei Pavel (ROM) d. Takao Suzuki (JPN) 67(6) 67(1) 61 64 64
Victor Hanescu (ROM) d. Go Soeda (JPN) 63 57 76(6) 76(3)

Japan almost became the fifth nation to make a debut in World Group next year, but Suzuki couldn't hold on to his two set to love lead against Pavel to close out the tie, so Hanescu gets to be the hero for Romania after he beat Soeda in four tight sets.

Venue: Bratislava, Slovak Republic (clay – indoors)

Hyung-Taik Lee (KOR) d. Martin Klizan (SVK) 63 60 61
Lukas Lacko (SVK) d. Woong-Sun Jun (KOR) 63 62 76(2)
Kyu-Tae Im/Hyung-Taik Lee (KOR) d. Lukas Lacko/Michal Mertinak (SVK) 60 63 62
Hyung-Taik Lee (KOR) d. Lukas Lacko (SVK) 63 63 46 61
Michal Mertinak (SVK) d. Jae-Sung An (KOR) 63 62

In a way, we end where we begin. Like Djoke, Lee wins three points for Korea and becomes his nation's hero in dismissing the Slovak Republic. To bad he couldn't do it in front of a home crowd like Djoke, Stepanek, Sela, and Horna. Yet another country will make its 2008 World Group debut in what promises to be a great year for Davis Cup.


Karen said...

Hey Craig there is a really nice post from Bodo over at about your boy Andy. Very refreshing to hear someone give Andy his props especialy where Davis Cup is concerned. Saw that you are now marinating your ribs and chicken. I do hope you enjoy it.

Craig Hickman said...

I can tell by the aroma that I'm going to enjoy it very much!

I'll mozy on over to Bodo.

tristann said...

Good job by Roddick.

I think Roddick can make a lot of noise on the tour too in the upcoming months. He is playing well and he does not have many points to defend until the AO. He could very well be in fourth place before the AO since Davydenko has many points to defend in the next months. If Andy does well, he has a shot at regaining third place in the spring. His results last year were mixed and Djokovic will have a lot of points to defend.

Mad Professah said...

Where's the source on the obnoxious Raja quote on the doubles match the Swiss team blew a lead in?

Craig Hickman said...

“I thought both teams played great, and it wasn’t a case of them dominating the last three sets. They got some lucky breaks when I was not able to convert the break points in the fourth, and the fans were amazing on either side” said Roger Federer.

Full Article

Craig Hickman said...

I found this quote even more obnoxious, even though I didn't write about it. It's from an interview that is 99% positive about his friend Tim Henman, but it contains a self-reference I find off-putting, especially since Tim defeated Raja the round after Raja defeated Sampras at Wimbledon. Ultimately, one could argue, the rain was Timmy's downfall in 2001. He had all the momemtum against Ivanisevic in the semifinals when the rain came and then the match was held over to the next day and he lost. Ivanisevic went on to win the title in a Monday final over Pat Rafter.

But I digress.

Raja said...

"I wish he could have achieved what he really wanted, but he had to deal with Pete Sampras and then I came along."

Full Article

rabbit said...

Craig, back again :) Yeah, that quote by Federer about Henman's career was pretty self-promoting and obnoxious. Like you said, he could have mentioned how Henman defeated him on his now most favorite surface.

About the Davis cup quote, though, I think that the main thing Federer was trying to do there was to put the blame squarely on himself instead of on Allegro (though it seems many crucial points were lost on Allegro's serve). Maybe that's why he talked about the fourth set and not the third or fifth sets.

Craig Hickman said...

rabbit said...

"About the Davis cup quote, though, I think that the main thing Federer was trying to do there was to put the blame squarely on himself instead of on Allegro (though it seems many crucial points were lost on Allegro's serve). Maybe that's why he talked about the fourth set and not the third or fifth sets."

That's all well and good, rabbit. But I still find it disingenuous to claim your opponent is lucky because they won. Which is the bottom line. "... and it wasn't the case of them dominating the last three sets," Raja reminds us.

Why is that necessary? Even if we didn't see the match, we can see the scoreline. The Swiss had a matchpoint, failed to convert it, and lost the match in five sets after having a big lead. And the final two sets didn't reach 6-6. Who cares whether or not the Czechs dominated the last two sets? They fought hard and won the match. I didn't let my favorite Serena off the hook, so there's no way I wouldn't give Raja a shout out.

I have so many loyal readers who are Raja fans that I've stepped away (a little bit) from bad mouthing him. I even rooted for him in the USO final. But he simply makes it difficult for me to hold my tongue when he exhibits such narcissism. Basically, he just needs to get over himself. And the mainstream press keeps selling him as a classy and gracious champion.

I'm not buying it.

Craig Hickman said...

Oh, and welcome back, rabbit!!!

rabbit said...

Don't stop criticizing Roger because of us! I love him for his tennis mostly; I fully know Roger isn't the best loser and takes himself a bit too seriously.

But I looked into the issue a little bit more. It seems that the "lucky" comment was made in the French portion of the interview (
audio/mp3/DC_8248_mp3.MP3) and I am not good enough to understand Roger's French. In the English portion, he doesn't seem arrogant at all. It would be great if somebody checked that the media translated the French correctly.

Also, check out Berdych's audio interview (on the same website) after his loss against Federer...Of course, this is not to excuse Federer's comments, if he really made them in the way you are interpreting.

Craig Hickman said...

What did Berdych say? Feel free to let us know.

rabbit said...

"I played unbelievable, and if it was not Roger Federer on the other side of the net I would have won, 400 per cent. He was luckier than me on a few points which made the difference"

Perhaps he is right (just like Serena was probably right), but it seems a very crude thing to say.

rabbit said...

Well, that's not exactly what he says in the audio interview (
audio/mp3/DC_8364_mp3.MP3), but it's pretty much to the same effect in this case. I got the quote from
matchreport.asp?articleid=14353. Interesting...I wonder why the players are not being quoted exactly.

Craig Hickman said...

I didn't listen to Berdych or Raja's interview, but what you note is interesting. Players not being quote verbatim.

Still, Tomas is no fool and he knows how to play the game. I'm no fan of his, but their singles match was after the doubles, so perhaps he was just giving Raja a bit of his own medicine with the lucky remark.

Craig Hickman said...

Here's my thing, though: even if true that your opponents were lucky, let the observers state it. It's really not something competitors need to say about their victorious opponents' performances.

I have no problem with a player saying I didn't play my best and I think that made the difference in the outcome of the match but saying my opponent was lucky is just foul.