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Argentina will meet Spain in Davis Cup final

Text by REUTERS

Latest update : 2008-12-10

Spain knocked the United States out of the competition on Sunday after world number one Rafael Nadal routed Andy Roddick in straight sets to qualify his country. Spain will face Argentina in the final.

 

World number one Rafael Nadal humbled Andy Roddick with a clay-court master class on Sunday to knock holders the United States out of the Davis Cup and send Spain through to their sixth final.

 

Concerns that Nadal was too tired to shine after playing 103 matches this year were banished as he dismissed the world number eight 6-4 6-0 6-4 in two hours 12 minutes to wrap up the tie for Spain 3-1.

 

"It is one of the most beautiful feelings I could have experienced in my career," an ecstatic Nadal told Spanish television.

 

Wary of getting into long rallies with one of the best clay court players ever, Roddick tried to attack Nadal at the net but the world number one picked him off with superb passing shots as he started to find his rhythm midway through the first set.

 

The 26-year-old Nebraskan managed to hold on to his serve in the fifth game but the 22-year-old Mallorcan broke emphatically two games later.

 

Roddick's normally ferocious first serve hit the target only 62 percent of the time but in reality it made little difference as Nadal whipped passing shots, lobs and angled winners to all corners of the court in Madrid's Las Ventas bullring.

 

Roddick pressed for an opening and forced two break-back points as Nadal served for the first set but the Spaniard reeled off the next three points and closed out the set with an ace in 47 minutes.

 

Nadal, who has lost only one clay-court match this year, blew the helpless Roddick away in the second set, working him around the court and chasing down every shot to gobble up the second set 6-0 as chants of "Rafa, Rafa" reverberated around the packed, 21,000-seater arena.

 

By the third set Roddick knew the game was up, and in a flash of gallows humour, laughed with U.S. captain Patrick McEnroe at a change of ends before joking with the crowd.

 

The former world number one held off five match points on his serve in the ninth game but only delayed the inevitable. Nadal hit a cross court winner before sinking to the ground and pumping his arms in celebration as his team ran to embrace him.

 

On Saturday, Mike Bryan and Mardy Fish had taken a point for the U.S., winning their doubles match against Fernando Verdasco and Feliciano Lopez, after Nadal and David Ferrer had won the first two singles rubbers of the five-match tie on Friday.

 

Teenager Juan Martin del Potro demolished Igor Andreev in straight sets on Sunday to give Argentina a 3-2 win over Russia and send them into a Davis Cup final against Spain.

Del Potro, two days short of his 20th birthday and playing his first home Davis Cup tie, won 6-4 6-2 6-1 as Argentina avenged their 2006 final defeat by the same opponents.

Earlier, Nikolay Davydenko hauled the Russians back into the tie by beating a tired David Nalbandian 3-6 6-3 7-6 (7-2) 6-0.

Date created : 2008-09-21

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