Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Deuce Court: Loving Davis Cup

On the eve of the 99th Davis Cup final in Seville, Spain, The Deuce Court is here to get you fired up.

Deuce #1: The Potential

It will be pretty hard for this year's final to top what happened last year in Belgrade, when Novak Djokovic and Co. won their first Davis Cup. That said, there is something highly intriguing about this weekend's clash between Spain and Argentina. Just hearing those two nation's names in the same sentence gets my head running with images of gauchos and matadors, conquistadors and flamenco dancers. Throw in the improbable nature of what Argentina is trying to do in Seville (break Spain's run of 20 consecutive home Davis Cup victories), add a dash of the revenge factor brought about by Spain's colossal upset of Argentina in 2008, and you have a recipe for for a clay court delicacy the likes of which we may have never seen.

Deuce #2: The Reality

Okay, now let's come down to earth, where the clay is clumpy and slow, and the footwork of the top two Spaniards is quick and decisive. Is there really any way that Argentina can do this? Neither Nadal nor Ferrer have ever lost on clay in Davis Cup play, and that's over the course of twenty-five matches. Can we realistically expect one loss from the vaunted pair, let alone two?

Ad In: The Mysticism

Ah, but there is something about the spirit of Argentina. The fire, if you will. Everybody is confident in Spain's chances right now, but you can't get through a single preview that doesn't at least mention the fact that Argentina is very dangerous, very hungry, and very talented. Juan Martin del Potro may have only gone 3-7 vs. the top ten in 2011, but is there anybody out there who doubts that the man is capable of greatness on the grandest of stages? David Nalbandian, too, will be lurking in the shadows, ready to contribute on the doubles court and, should the opportunity arise, in the reverse singles on Sunday.

Deuce #3: What about Juan Monaco?

He's been labeled the sacrificial lamb by some members of the media, one supposedly sent out to make nice with his video-gaming buddy Nadal (yes, you should click on that last link) and possibly steal a set after playing some long, physical points. But are we selling Monaco short by labeling him so? He's been playing some great tennis this autumn, and he's no doubt going to be inspired by the confidence that his coach Tito Vazquez is showing in him.

Ad In: How bad does Argentina want it?

Since none of Argentina's team members played tour events in the last three weeks, they've all been gearing up for this tie by working extremely hard on the clay. Meanwhile, Nadal and Ferrer have been playing on hard courts, and feeling quite "passionless." Could the difference in preparation have an effect on the outcome, or will fumes be enough to power the clearly superior Spaniards to the title on clay?

Deuce #4: What about Dubs?

Feliciano Lopez and Fernando Verdasco have been hit and miss in Davis Cup play, but they have won their matches in the last two finals. Argentina will need to win the doubles to have any hope, and David Nalbandian and Eduardo Schwank will have to find a way to beat them, in their first Davis Cup match as a team. Can they?

Ad Out: My pick

Spain is just too good, plain and simple. But they will need their big guns to close it out on Sunday.

Spain 3, Argentina 2

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