Romania the comeback kings
Victor Hanescu secured a 3-2 victory for Romania over Japan in their Davis Cup by BNP Paribas World Group Play-off tie when he beat Go Soeda 63 57 76(6) 76(3) on Sunday.
The Romanians showed their mettle to claw their way back from 1-0 and 2-1 down to secure a place in the 2008 World Group in what was their 11th play-off tie in 12 years and the first-ever tournament meeting between the two countries.
The Japanese were left begging once more in their quest to appear in the World Group for the first time since 1985.
In the first singles match on Sunday, Andrei Pavel battled back from 2-0 down to beat Takao Suzuki in five sets at Namihaya Dome Main Arena to put the tie at 2-2 and keep alive Romania’s hopes of victory.
That meant it all came down to the final singles match: Japan’s baby-faced 23-year-old Soeda up against the 6-foot-6-inch (198 cm) Hanescu.
The Japanese crowd had had the wind taken out of their sails somewhat after the Suzuki collapse, and with Hanescu the more fancied of the two players Soeda had to work hard to get the crowd focused again.
Unfortunately for Soeda, he let go of the first set far too easily and Hanescu wrapped it up in half an hour.
It was so quiet in the arena, you half expected tumbleweed to roll across the court.
The fans were already thinking it was all over, but Soeda had other ideas. He began to wield his influence in the second set and then found daylight at 6-5 with a set point. He produced a rasping forehand pass that gave Hanescu no chance and the Japanese suddenly had a lifeline.
The crowd responded in kind.
The third set was desperately close. Hanescu had five break point chances but couldn’t convert any and so it came down to a tiebreak. Soeda saw a set point go begging at 6-5 before Hanescu came back and won the set on a serve that was too strong for his opponent.
Indeed, Hanescu’s serve was a big difference from the start. He hit 22 aces to Soeda’s eight. No matter how well Soeda played he couldn’t make any inroads into Hanescu’s service games.
The fourth set bore this out. And in the ninth game, Hanescu pushed Soeda to the brink, earning a match point on the Japanese’s serve. Soeda, though, wasn’t ready to give up yet, winning the point with a smash before bagging the game with an ace.
He did the same again at 6-5 Hanescu, cracking an ace to seal the game. Once again, it was down to the tiebreak.
Hanescu cranked up the power, his returns carrying that extra sting in their tail. He raced to a 6-3 lead and this time converted his match point, a brilliant backhand pass that Soeda couldn’t get near.
Romania, the comeback kings this weekend, had done it.
YES!!!!! ROMANIA WON!!!! my andrei is a true king realy!!!! hopefully he was here one more time!!! congrats andrei! and congrats to victor too!
I'm happy as if i was romanian myself!
here are some pix
isn't he the sweetest guy in the world?!
(this one was taken after his first match)
here are the score
andrei pavel def suzuki 6/7 6/7 6/1 6/4 6/4
hanescu def soeda 6/3 5/7 7/6 7/6