Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Sinking the Spanish Armada

I bet this is the ONLY place you'll find the following statement:

The U.S. team can, and will, pull off the upset this weekend!

I know, I know: A rookie's on the squad and one-half of one of the greatest doubles teams ever is out. The other team is led by a 22-year-old, who's already a legend. Plus, the hosts are playing on their favorite surface, one in which they've become pretty much synonymous with.

However, here's why I'm picking the U.S. for one of the most stunning upsets in Davis Cup history:

• Getting higher, baby: The tie is being played in Madrid, much to the chagrin of the players on the Spanish team, who think the high-altitude conditions will help the big hitters on the U.S. team. If ever there was a chance to play on a quick clay court and have a great shot, this is it.

• Net gains: As a result of the high altitude, there's going to be more of a chance for attacking styles to pay off, therefore resulting in the opportunity to knock off some easy volleys. If the U.S. boys don't take to the net at every available opportunity, they're crazy.

• Serving notice: Andy Roddick and Sam Querrey serve bombs, we all know that. But here's what needs to happen: They just can't go out there hoping to do that, despite the quick conditions. Busting kickers out wide will open the court for big inside-out forehands.

• Pressure's something that comes in tires: There won't be any pressure on the U.S. to win this one, so why not go out there loose? That's how underdogs pull off upsets!

There you have it: Why I think the U.S. will win this weekend. Of course, it's not outside of the realm of possibility for the U.S. to not even pick up a set, but if they put their heads and hearts into it, who knows?

(Photo: AP)


TopSpin said...

I think you might actually be on to something here.

Its true this isn't the strongest US Team we've ever seen, but I'm not so impressed with much of the Spanish Team either:

Ferrer: He seems to have overperformed last year and has struggled for much of this year.

Lopez: Great performance at Wimbledon (serving in particular) - other than that I can't remember much else.

Verdasco: A better year for him but still struggles with form/consistency, big stages and better players.

I actually thought Tommy Robredo played a darn sight better than any of the above at Flushing Meadows - was it too late to revise selection in favour of the in-form player?

heyheyhey said...

I like your enthusiasm, van. I sure hope you are right. But I am going to steel myself for a loss, just in case, so my hopes aren't dashed if US loses. I'm just so excited for more tennis.

Jodi said...

I too think Spain was stupid not to play Robredo... though I still think they will win, pretty much due to the single-handed efforts of Rafa Nadal. One has to assume that if he plays both singles matches, he'll win them... and so it might just hinge on the doubles, which is why I felt the loss of Bob Bryan might have sunk the ship a bit. The performance of David Ferrer is going to be key... if he can get one of the singles rubbers, one feels Spain can't lose. But the USA can certainly win!

...if only I could say the same for the Aussies! Though we are going the right way about it, given our extreme limitations, I feel.

hcfoo said...

I agree Robredo could have been the better player for the Spanish team.

When Sam Q and Mardy Fish were made into the US team list I thought they could have a chance here at the semis too.

It's going to be interesting to see how Roddick and teammates pull this through at MAdrid.

Rudy said...

Hi! This is the first time I leave a comment in this blog, and I agree with you high altitude benefits the USA, but not as much as they actually will beat Spain in clay.

I mean, telling into account that Nadal won't lose one of his rubbers (he probably won't go on straights in both matches, but sure he'll win them), Roddick would have to beat Ferrer (not impossible, but pretty tough, I go with David in four, five sets max), win the doubles (okay, López and Verdasco will lose easy, even without the Bryan Bro), and most importantly: Querrey or Fish would have to take down Ferrer. It is true that Ferrer is not in his best moment, but I can´t see him lose against one of those two guys in a match, although in Davis Cup there's always crazy surprises, like Verdasco losing to Swiss Chiudinelli last year.

And about Robredo, believe me, I would have picked Almagro over Tommy. Robredo not only has a terrible record in Davis Cup, but also against American players, so I perfectly understand Sanchez Vicario's choice for this tie.

To sum up, Spain is clear favourite, but not as much as all people think. My prediction is a 3-1 (3-2 maybe).

PD: As you may have figured out, I'm Spanish, so sorry about my English, that is similar to Nadal's hehehe.

van said...

• Hey Topspin: I think you broke down their team perfectly. I know Robredo had a better U.S. Open run, but I really don't know what separates him from Ferrer game-wise.

• Hey heyheyhey (that's always fun to type)!: Yeah, this is my favorite time of the year and I'm excited to see some good play, too!

• Hey Jodi, what's up? Is Massu playing number 2 for Chile? If so, I would almost suspect he could be the vulnerable one. As I mentioned on your blog, it seems like your guys are more adept on clay now than ever. It's a tough row to how playing away, but who knows? Good luck!

• HCFoo, all the team has to do is read what I wrote and they have a chance! : )

• Rudy, welcome! And thanks for posting a comment! Your guys are definitely the overwhelming favorite, but I always think the best thing about the Davis Cup is you never know what's going to happen! It could come down to a live fifth rubber between Querrey and Ferrer to win it all. Best of luck, and please keep commenting!