In Davis Cup play, Andy Roddick has been unflappable. Today, America’s ace in the hole hammered Swiss Stanislas Wawrinka in the fourth rubber 6-4, 6-4, 6-2 to book his team’s place in the quarterfinals. Moreover, Roddick becomes second only to John McEnroe on the U.S. all-time Davis Cup winning list.
With Swiss cowbells ringing, Wawrinka won the first game with a forehand volley. Thereafter, things got sticky pretty fast for the Swiss. In two subsequent service games, Wawrinka went down love-30 and also faced a break point. Still, with a few unforced errors by Roddick, Wawrinka held serve. However, it was just a matter of time before Stanislas had to pay the piper. The debt came due in the seventh game. When Wawrinka missed a crosscourt backhand, Roddick got his second break point. Then, with a little luck, Roddick’s stroke skidded off the line, leading to a backhand error from Wawrinka and the break advantage. With his overpowering serve, Roddick grabbed the set.
The initial game of the second set was a replay of the first. Again, Wawrinka held serve for 1-0 with a forehand crosscourt volley winner. But, after Roddick cruised through his service game, Wawrinka was in dire straights afresh. With a backhand down the line winner and a volley error by his adversary, Andy had double break point. When Stanislas misconnected on an overhead, Roddick jumped ahead 2-1. The Swiss was irate, slamming his racket to the ground because he felt that the ball bounced twice on the American’s previous stroke. Except, there was no conclusive evidence that this was the case. In fact, Andy appeared to have trapped the ball. Thus, Wawrinka’s and the Swiss team’s protest fell on deaf ears. With Roddick able to neutralize Wawrinka’s masterful stroke, the backhand, and with the Swiss forced to sure up his least comfortable shot, the forehand; one break was enough for Roddick to capture the second set.
Wawrinka tried to stay positive and started the third set with a hold. With no cracks in the Roddick’s serve, Wawrinka could ill afford any further errors. Yet, in the third game, with backhand and forehand crosscourt errors, then two forehand up the line errors, Wawrinka dug himself a deeper hole in giving Roddick the break for 2-1. With solid and steady play, Roddick satisfied with letting his rival take the risk, stretched his lead to 5-2 when Wawrinka netted a forehand. With Andy serving, Stanislas misfired on another backhand securing the victory for the American. In the day’s last rubber, Blake beat Marco Chiudinelli in straight sets 6-4, 7-6.
On Friday, the Americans got off to a dicey. After Blake took the first set in the opening rubber, he lost the next three against Wawrinka 6-3, 4-6, 3-6, 6-7. Roddick saved the day by prevailing in the second rubber. Roddick got on the roll the first two sets. Despite Chiudinelli hanging on in third, Roddick closed it out in the tiebreak 6-1, 6-3, 7-6.
Saturday, Mike and Bob Bryan dominated Yves Allegro and Wawrinka for two sets in the doubles match. The Swiss managed to take the third set and fought hard in the fourth. That latter set was decided in a tiebreak which the Bryans ruled 6-3, 6-4, 3-6, 7-6. With that conquest the Bryans gave the U.S. a 2-1 lead and became the winningest twosome in U.S. Davis cup history.
In July, the Americans will travel to Croatia for the quarterfinals. Led by Marin Cilic, Mario Ancic and Ivo Karlovic, the Croatians crushed Chile taking all five rubbers. In that section of the draw, the Netherlands was no match for Argentina. The Argentines ran the table and will battle the Czech Republic in the next round. Radek Stepanek and Tomas Berdych outlasted the French despite Giles Simon, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Richard Gasquet competing.
With the bad weather damaging the stadium, matches between Spain and Serbia were deferred to Saturday. Rafael Nadal, David Ferrer and the rest of the crew easily handled Novak Djokovic and company. Now, Spain will butt heads with Germany at home. Germany defeated Austria as Nicolas Kiefer secured the fourth rubber. Russia had no problem with Romania with Marat Safin, Dmitry Tursunov and Mikhail Youzhny in attendance. Russia will meet Israel in the quarterfinals. As Israel and Sweden competed in a spectator free stadium, all matches went to five sets. Israel prevailed 8-6 in the ultimate rubber and will host the Russians. No word yet on whether or not the Russian-Israeli face-off will also be closed to the public.