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Sunday, September 21, 2008

Argentina on track for first Davis Cup

Juan Martin Del Potro was overjoyed after leading Argentina into the Davis Cup final by winning the deciding contest.
The 19-year-old defeated Igor Andreev 6-4 6-2 6-1 as Argentina recovered from David Nalbandian's loss to Nikolay Davydenko to triumph 3-2 in the overall match.
Argentina finished runners-up in 1981 and 2006 and will bid for their first Davis Cup title in Buenos Aires in November against Spain, who defeated the United States 4-1 in Madrid.
"Happiness is the only word I can use to describe how I feel," said Del Potro.
"The match was difficult to begin with because I was a bit nervous and was anxiously looking forward to finishing the tie.
"Then, it was easier. I felt better. I played great tennis and I thank my captain and my team-mates who supported me."
Del Potro thought team-mate Nalbandian would finish the contest, but he fell 3-6 6-3 7-6 (7/2) 6-0 to Davydenko.
"I was not expecting to finish the tie myself," added Del Potro. "I thought we could do it earlier, but anyway I am very happy because we celebrated at the end."
Captain Alberto Mancini was thrilled Argentina won after seeing his leading player slip up.
"We knew it was not going to be easy. We took a big lead on Friday and tried to secure it on Saturday as we usually do as hosts, but we couldn't," he said.
"David was quite tired after playing the doubles match so he had less possibilities to win, but we trusted in Juan and he played great tennis."
Mancini turned his attentions to the final and, despite Argentina only ever hosting Davis Cup tennis on clay, hopes they can play Rafael Nadal, David Ferrer and company indoors.
"We want an indoor carpet, no matter where," added Mancini. "We'll start discussing that with the Association to see where we can play, but we want an indoor carpet."
Russia captain Shamil Tarpischev was magnanimous in defeat and tipped Argentina to lift the trophy later this year.
He said: "I want to congratulate the Argentinian team for the victory. I am sure they will win the trophy because of their attitude, their temperament and professionalism."
Igor Andreev anticipated Del Potro would be a difficult opponent after the Argentinian's win over Davydenko on Friday.
"I saw the first rubber on Friday and I was expecting this," said Andreev.
"We played him four months ago in Munich and we already saw there his potential and play.
"He won four ATP tournaments in two months so he has gained confidence to play this tie.
"I was looking forward to do quite more today, but he (Del Potro) played great tennis."
David Nalbandian, meanwhile, backed Mancini's decision to include him in the doubles on Saturday despite fatigue playing a part in his loss to Davydenko.
"If we had won the doubles match on Saturday, nobody would have said anything about whether I shouldn't play that match," said Nalbandian, the world number seven.
"Most of the times we managed to define the tie on Saturday. This time, we kept the suspense going until Sunday."


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