Acasuo upsets Johansson, gives Argentina 2-0 lead over Sweden
Feb. 10, 2006
CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
BUENOS AIRES, Argentina -- Jose Acasuso made his Davis Cup debut by upsetting 13th-ranked Thomas Johansson in three sets Friday as Argentina won both opening singles to lead Sweden 2-0 in their first-round World Group tie.
Acasuso needed only 80 minutes to beat Johansson 6-1, 6-1, 6-3 on the outdoor clay at Parque Roca stadium a crowd of 9,000,(according to argentine press more than 10,200 tickets were sold for today, breaking the Arg. attendance record for a single day)
giving Argentina control after David Nalbandian won the opening singles over Robin Soderling 3-6, 6-2, 6-4, 6-1.
"I'm very happy to have such a debut. I didn't expect it to be so easy, but the key was to be focused and play on Johansson's faults," the 33rd-ranked Acasuso said after a packed homecrowd thundered with a standing ovation.
Johansson, who looked bewildered at times, lauded Acasuso after his a phenomenal day.
"I would be surprised if any player in the world would have beat Acasuso the way he played today," Johansson said. "If he continues like that, he should have an excellent year." (I hope so )
Acasuso allowed Johansson to hold his serve only once in the first set, and broke the Swede four times in the second set.
After Acasuso led 3-0 in the third set, the match was more even but stayed on serve until the Argentine prevailed.
In the earlier match, Nalbandian neede exactly twice as much time as Acasuso -- 2 hours and 45 minutes exactly -- to subdue Soderling.
Soderling won the first game at love, then broke the Argentine in the eighth game for a 5-3 lead.
Nalbandian recovered in the second set, leading 3-2 before breaking the Swede twice to even the match.
In what amounted to a baseline duel, the third set opened with five straight service breaks until Soderling held for a 4-2 lead. But Nalbandian then held before earning two more service breaks to win the set.
Nalbandian claimed the fourth by running Soderling all over the court.
Although Nalbandian improved his Davis Cup record to 13-2, he said he didn't expect such a fight from Soderling.
"I was surprised how well he played, with strong shots," he said. "I think I won because I moved around a lot and it seemed to work as he lowered his level of play in the fourth set."
Soderling acknowledged the clay courts made damp by an overnight rain were a factor even if he felt he played well in only his second Davis Cup outing.
"Clay is not my best surface and to win, I would have had to serve better, which is not really the strong part of my game," he said. "For me the court was also very slow but I tried my best."
Saturday's doubles match teams Argentines Nalbandian and Agustin Calleri against Jonas Bjorkman and Simon Aspelin, ahead of Sunday's reverse singles.
The winner of the tie faces the victor of Croatia-Austria in the next round.