Sorry for posting yet another article, but this one is a really good one (better than the other two). I love the quotes.
Nalbandian Routs Ferrer in Davis Cup opener
The thumping of drums reverberated beneath the roof of the Estadio Islas Malvinas. It was a fitting soundtrack for David Nalbandian to deliver a percussive pounding to David Ferrer in showing the Spaniard the door, 6-3, 6-2, 6-3, to stake Argentina to a 1-0 lead in the Davis Cup final in Mar del Plata today.
Juan Martin del Potro faces Spain's Feliciano Lopez in the second match as Argentina continues its quest for its first Davis Cup championship in history in this, its third appearance in the final following runner-up finishes in 1981 and 2006.
"If we win, it would be historic, not only for Argentina, but for all of South America," Nalbandian said after today's triumph. "The crowd support and love for my country is always inspiring in Davis Cup. Today in particular the fans were cheering at all the right times. I played very well, I played very solid from the first point, so that gave me confidence point by point. I think I played a match of very high level, not much on the time, very short, and that's very good for the whole weekend. I am very happy I didn't expend a lot of energy because I want to play doubles tomorrow."
Indeed, captain Alberto Mancini is expected to announce Nalbandian will be a doubles starter on Saturday, partnering either Jose Acasuso or Agustin Calleri, who were the captain's choices as the starting doubles team at Thursday's draw ceremony. Asked who he prefers to play with, Nalbandian, who owns a 10-4 Davis Cup doubles record, including 2-0 marks with both Acasuso and Calleri, replied: "I have no preference; it doesn't matter. I just want to play."
Nalbandian played in the 2006 final in Moscow that saw Marat Safin beat Jose Acasuso to clinch a 3-2 victory. Davis Cup brings out the best in Nalbandian, who considers the competition the "most important" event of his season and characterized this weekend's tie as the most important event in the history of Argentine tennis.
"The five points that we’re going to play are the most important in the history of national tennis," Nalbandian said during the practice week that preceded today's match. "It’s nothing less and we can’t give away anything."
Playing with an oppressive approach from the outset, the one hour, 59-minute dissection of the World No. 12 was a vintage Nalbandian performance.
Reading the Ferrer serve as clearly as his name on the scoreboard, Nalbandian converted seven of 15 break point chances, won 29 of the 58 points played on Ferrer's first serve (50 percent) and consistently bewildered the Spaniard with dazzling down the line drives.
"Nalbandian was hitting it too hard, too fast and too deep," Ferrer said. "My legs couldn't keep up with the velocity and speed of his deep shots."
Exhorted by a vocal crowd of nearly 10,000 fans that included Argentine Hall of Famers Guillermo Vilas and Gabriela Sabatini and an enthusiastic corps who banged drums throughout much of the match in drowing out the horn-playing contingent of Spanish fans, Nalbandian earned two break points in the opening game. He netted a forehand on the first and Ferrer saved the second with a sharp-angled backhand winner to hold at 1-0.
Tennis is a game of firsts: win the first set and you're odds of winning the match increase significantly. Nalbandian has been a fast starter throughout his Davis Cup career: he had won the opening set in 10 straight Davis Cup singles matches, posting an 8-2 record in that span and was determined to assert his authority at the start today.
On the strength of a series of punishing crosscourt patterns that opened the court for his down the line drives, Nalbandian broke for 2-1. He held at love with a forehand winner down the line to extend the lead to 3-1.
The sixth game was the longest of the set. Nalbandian showcased slick racquet skills and fine feel in lifting a backhand drop volley winner over the net, stopping the ball as if it was on a string to seize a 4-2 lead he celebrated by waving his index finger in the air.
Driving a forehand down the line, Nalbandian hammered a forehand winner corsscourt to earn double break point and a Ferrer error gave him another break and a 5-2 lead.
Ferrer broke back as a Nalbandian backhand missed the mark wide, but it was a short-lived reprieve. In the ninth game, Nalbandian froze Ferrer with sharp-angle forehand crosscourt winner. A Ferrer error handed Nalbandian two set points. When Ferrero flailed a forehand beyond the baseline, Nalbandian walked to his court-side seat with a clenched fist and first set in hand, 6-3.
"From the first point you could tell the surface was favored to me and that's the purpose of home-court advantage," Nalbandian said. "The fans carried me to another level. I loved the drums. My confidence grew because I won the first set."
The 160-pound, fleet-footed Ferrer entered the match against the hard-hitting Nalbandian knowing he had to try to transform the encounter into a running match and stretch the slightly slower Argentine wide to have any shot of crafting an upset. But Nalbandian, who takes the ball earlier and hits a flatter, faster ball, spent the match precisely moving Ferrer around the court as if here a pawn in his own personal chess game.
A set and a half into the match, Ferrer felt the effects of Nalbandian's suffocating play.
Running to his right, Nalbandian ripped a forehand winner crosscourt, putting the ball right on the baseline and celebrating the break with a primal scream to take a 3-1 lead. It was the shot of the match, prompting a resounding roar from the crowd. And though Ferrer would break back for 2-3, Nalbandian ran off three straight games to seal the second set.
The 26-year-old from Valencia has hard-court credentials: two of Ferrer's seven career titles have come on hard court and he beat Rafael Nadal en route to the 2007 U.S. Open semifinals. But Ferrer conceded he's been struck by a confidence crisis in recent months: he posted a 5-7 record in his final seven tournaments of the season and ended the season on a three-match losing skid. Ferrer is a humble man who could not hide the disappointment and personal pain he felt after the lopsided loss.
"I felt inferior as a player and as a person and it hurts me personally," Ferrer said afterward. "I've been in a slump for two months. I did the best I could."
Confronted with the inevitable question of how the absence of World No. 1 Nadal, who pulled out of the final citing knee tenditis, has hurt the Spanish cause, Ferrer flashed a rare show of frustration and anger. "Don't ask me that question again," he said. "He's not here. We have to deal with it. That's that."