The champion U.S. Quad team, led by players (l to r) Nick Taylor, David Wagner & Bryan Barten.
© Jeremiah Yolkut
By Jeremiah Yolkut, special to USTA.com
Quad Final-USA vs. Israel
The U.S. quad duo of Nick Taylor and David Wagner once again delivered a show at the 2011 World Team Cup Quad Final. After regaining the title last year in Turkey, the Americans were the favored nation to hoist the trophy again in 2011. On Saturday, both Taylor and Wagner did their part to bring the title back to America and assured the World Team Cup trophy would stay in the U.S. for another year.
Nick Taylor vs. Noam Gershony
Taylor came out strong in the first set of his singles again Noam Gershony, taking an early 3-1 lead. It seemed Taylor was going to perform his same crafty game against the Israeli, much the same way he had mastered Gershony earlier in the week. But when Gershony awoke in the fifth game, Taylor seemed thrown off, finding it hard to recover. He continuously found himself out of position for the shots Gershony made. Taylor dropped the first set 3-6 and started to look overmatched against the rookie Israeli team member.
In the second set, it was much of the same, as Taylor dropped the first two games quickly and never established his usually consistent game. Gershony had clearly prepared for Taylor and made sure he didn’t let his American opponent control the match, a key when competing against Taylor. Gershony won the final four games of the set and secured the first singles of the day with a 2-6 win.
David Wagner vs. Shraga Weinberg
It was up to David Wagner to secure the No. 1 singles match or face losing the World Team Cup. Wagner came out sharp, winning the first game of his opening set against Shara Weinberg, his frequent opponents at these events. Wagner was on, using his dominant serve and return game to keep Weinberg back and often recovering. The No. 1 ranked player in the world was quick to show that he wasn’t going to let his nation down in this critical match. Wagner went back and forth with Weinberg but stayed strong, taking the first set 6-3.
In the second set, Wagner did much of the same, coming to the net, cutting off angles and keeping the ball away from the Israeli. Wagner never allowed Weinberg to get any rhythm in the set, dominating from the first serve. Wagner had one goal in mind as he took the set 6-3 -- get the U.S. to doubles and make sure the Israelis would have to beat the top pairing in the world.
Nick Taylor and David Wagner vs. Boaz Kramer and Noam Gershony
It was the first time the U.S. had faced a deciding doubles at the 2011 World Team Cup. Taylor and Wagner had cruised all week with singles victories and never had to pull out their secret weapon, the doubles game. As Paralympic gold medalists, the two Americans have plenty of history on how to win big-time matches. On Saturday, they proved exactly that.
Taylor and Wagner came out with a title on their mind, taking the first five games of the first set. It was an exercise in tennis communication, as Taylor yelled, "You," and Wagner shouted, "Got it." The duo was unstoppable throughout the day, digging for every ball and covering the court at every angle. The match was never close, as Wagner and Taylor capped off a special day in South Africa, 6-2, 6-2, taking their seventh World Team Cup title and assuring USA chants the rest of the afternoon.
The team celebrated the special win during the closing ceremonies at the Tshwane City Hall on Saturday night. The evening was filled with great food, awards and true South African spirit. The entire U.S. team enjoyed the evening and spent the time celebrating a wonderful week in beautiful South Africa.