Safin Stirs Russia To Second Davis Cup Title
Russian Marat Safin played the hero of the day when he defeated Argentine Jose Acasuso to hand Russia its second Davis Cup title, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (5). Russia's 3-2 win over Argentina was its first ever win on home soil, having lost three previous finals before.
After David Nalbandian beat Nikolay Davydenko 6-2, 6-2, 4-6, 6-4 earlier, Safin had to bear the pressure of winning the decisive fifth rubber match, which he did by playing superb tennis against Acasuso, a late replacement for Juan Ignacio Chela. Safin got what he wanted, to play three days for his country. He lost to Nalbandian in the first rubber but won the last rubbers he played.
Safin started the match with a first-game win and raced to a 3-0 lead. Acacuso, though not a pushover, managed to narrow the gap by winning three games, but the Russian was simply marvelous as he wrapped the first set 6-3. Acasuso gained confidence as he fought back in the second set, turning the table against Safin who looked demoralised. His newly found confidence, though, could not nip his Russian foe's game, as Safin won the next two sets, handing Russia its second title after two hours and fifty minutes of play.
Safin was stunned by his win as the Russian squad went to the court and gave their hero a hug then carried him aloft. The crowd was jubilant all over. On the other side of the net, Acasuso fell into tears inconsolably. The Argentine fought a gallant match, but it was not enough for his Russian opponent.
"I'm happy to win in front of my home fans," Safin said. "It was really hard to win, as I experienced serious problems with the surface, as I failed to adjust my playing to the carpet.
Safin-Tursonov Duo Pushed 2-1 Lead For Russia
A key turning point in the weekend, Safin and Dmitry Tursunov gave Russia a 2-1 lead by subduing the Argentine duo of David Nalbandian and Agustin Calleri, 6-2, 6-3, 6-4, in just one hour and 38 minutes on the second day of the final round of Davis Cup in Moscow, Russia.
Safin exacted revenge on Nalbandian for his three-set loss the other day, but it was Dmitry Tursunov who provided the crowd with a display of excellent tennis, sending unreturnable serves into the Argentines' side of the net and accurate ground strokes angled on both sides. The tall Russians battered the Argentines to the very end, never allowing their dominance be challenged. Tursonov fittingly served the first and last game of the match.
Nalbandian was a complete opposite of what he was when he defeated Safin the other day. He served poorly, returned serves awfully and was broken earlier in the game.
“I think not many things, but one thing comes to another. In the beginning, we couldn't make any return. We didn't play many points when they served. Maybe they got out a little of confidence on the match. Then I didn't serve very good in the beginning, so it was tough,” Nalbandian said.
In the crucial reverse singles, Russian captain Shamil Tarpischev might substitute Safin or Davydenko in favor of Tursonov while Argentine captain Alberto Mancini would most likely replace Juan Ignacio Chela with Jose Acasuso after Chela was beaten in the first rubber by Davydenko.
Written by Jess Plopinio jr. of the Lawntennisnews Network