Related: Blake and Roddick Roll; U.S. Leads Spain 2-0
Related: Sweden Defeats Argentina 3-0 After Doubles Win
By Jason Brown, USTA.com
Winston, Salem, N.C. – A clean sweep for the United States on Friday has put the Americans in prime position to clinch the quarterfinal series in the doubles rubber scheduled for Saturday afternoon at 2 p.m. Eastern at the Joel Coliseum.
With the U.S. leading Spain, 2-0, in the best-of-five match series, it is on the able shoulders of doubles partners Bob and Mike Bryan to earn the team a berth in the 2007 World Group Semifinals.
Bob and Mike Bryan, the top-ranked doubles team in the world, are an impressive 10-1 in Davis Cup play, and are carrying a five-match winning streak in the team competition.
If all goes according to script, the Californian twins could clinch their first tie for the U.S. since lifting the team to victory twice in 2004, at the Mohegan Sun Arena against Austria and in Charleston during a sweep of Belarus.
“I love their chances,” said U.S. Captain Patrick McEnroe. “I've loved their chances every time they take the court in Davis Cup, whether it's 0-2 or 1-All. It has been a couple of years since we've been up 2-0. So that's nice.”
“I think they're playing against a very good team, as you saw from Verdasco. The guy can really hit the ball big. Lopez has probably even a bigger serve. It's going to be a tough match. I think because the court is pretty quick, there won't be many breaks. It will be almost like a grass court kind of match.
Obviously, Bob and Mike are so well-prepared and they understand that it might be that kind of match. So I think it will be close, but I certainly think we feel good that at crunch time our guys will play well.”
Riding a five-match Davis Cup winning streak that dates back to 2005, the Bryans are just four wins shy of the all-time U.S. mark shared by the great American doubles pair of John McEnroe and Peter Fleming.
“We know how tough it is,” said Bob Bryan, discussing the importance of the doubles rubber and the obstacles presented playing against Feliciano Lopez and Verdasco of Spain.
“We come here every week and we work really hard. We're playing two lefties. It's going to be a little different. They are really the only team on tour that are lefties. We've only played them once. Mike's seen a lot of lefty serves during his day. But it's going to be different. We've got to be patient. It's a quick court, so we're going to take our time and see what we can do.”
On Friday, James Blake let loose and defeated Spain’s No. 1 singles player Tommy Robredo in straight sets, 6-4, 6-3, 6-4.
In the nightcap, top singles player Andy Roddick swept past Fernando Verdasco of Spain, winning 7-6(5), 6-1, 6-4.
One match win away from exorcising the demons of the 2004 Final in Seville, Roddick admitted that there has been extra motivation playing against the team that prevented the U.S. from winning the Davis Cup.
Although the team makeup of Spain has experienced some turnover – 2004 team members Rafael Nadal, Carlos Moya, and Juan Carlos Ferrero weren’t nominated to play in Winston-Salem – Roddick remembers the bitter taste of defeat, but respects how hard Spain plays on the court.
“Because it’s Davis Cup, it's not really this guy versus that guy; it's a country versus a country. There is a sense of a revenge factor,” said Roddick. “They got us pretty good over there. I've been saying all along that we would love nothing more than to return the favor. We're close now. Now we have to go try to finish it off.”
“Different faces, but they still compete the same. You can count on Spanish players being smart players, not playing themselves out of points, competing all the time. I think they've shown that for the last couple of years. That's what makes them tough.”
In the quarterfinal that directly impacts the U.S.-Spain series, Sweden got wins on Friday from Thomas Johansson and Robin Soderling and followed that up with a thrilling four-set victory in the doubles rubber over David Nalbandian and Guilldermo Canas to clinch their best-of-five series against Argentina, 3-0.
The winner of the tie between the U.S. and Spain will meet Sweden in the World Group Semifinals.
If the U.S. advances, they are guaranteed to travel abroad to Sweden for the semifinals, scheduled for the weekend of September 21-23. Since the Swedes hosted Argentina in Gothenburg for the quarterfinals, the site of the semifinal would most likely be the city of Stockholm.
Versus is airing live daily coverage from Winston-Salem at 2 p.m. Eastern, and The Tennis Channel will air a primetime rebroadcast each evening beginning at 8 p.m.
|April 6||2:00 - 6:00 PM ET (Live)||Versus||Singles |
|April 6||8:00 PM ET (Encore)||Tennis Channel||Singles |
|April 7||2:00 - 3:00 PM ET (Live)||Versus||Doubles |
|April 7||8:00 PM ET (Encore)||Tennis Channel||Doubles |
|April 8||2:00 - 5:00 PM ET (Live)||Versus||Singles |
|April 8||8:00 PM ET (Encore)||Tennis Channel||Singles |
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