Preview: U.S. vs. Spain in Davis Cup Semi-Finals
The Americans have made quite a stunning performance in the Davis Cup thus far. On 14-16 of September, these two nations will collide and fight for a spot in the World Group finals.
The Czech Republic will be taking on Argentina, but the one that most will be watching will the U.S. against the always mighty Spain. David Ferrer has taken the spot of Rafael Nadal and is leading his country with bright colors and a fist pump.
The U.S. and Spain are tied at 5-5 in the overall head-to-head. The last two times (2011, 2008), Spain beat the U.S., but it's a coin toss.
Spain has had a domineering record in the Davis Cup by winning it five times in the years 2000, 2004, 2008, 2009 and 2011.
Spain is on fire with their 23 home/tie winning streak. The U.S. will be traveling to Spain to play on the red clay, and probably will be heading to endure the ultra-slow clay that will be specially be placed for the occasion.
Clay is nothing to worry about for the Americans. They have won their last four straight meetings on clay, even though hard court would be preferred (and it's super fast too).
When it comes to winning the Davis Cup, America has the all-time record with winning it 32 times thus far: 1900, 1902, 1913, 1920, 1921, 1922, 1923, 1924, 1925, 1926, 1937, 1938, 1946, 1947, 1948, 1949, 1954, 1958, 1963, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1978, 1979, 1981, 1982, 1990, 1992, 1995 and 2007.
Americans vs. Spaniards
The 2012 John Isner has made improvements and has come more mentally prepared in his matches. He has more matches under his belt now and has nothing but helped him this year. He is playing smarter which has allowed him to play bigger tennis. He may have lost to Roger Federer in the finals of Indian Wells, but he has become the new "American Hope."
The other hope for America is on the shoulders of the young prodigy Ryan Harrison. He is new to the Davis Cup, but it will certainly help me gain more match experience for those future wins. He has done well in the early stages of 2012 but has not made been able to make a big impression so far. His day shall come.
Mardy Fish and the boisterous Bryan Brothers are men that should never be underestimated.
Nicolas Almagro and David Ferrer have taken the singles positions and have nothing but enthralled us with their tennis over the years. The once out-of-shape Almagro has become fitter and smarter with his tennis, edging top players in tournament matches. Ferrer has always been the "Machine Man" with his boundless rocket man play that have always given top players a headache.
It will be interesting whether Rafael Nadal will return to help his country forge a win, but this year's schedule is looking busier by the second; especially with the players eying the gold at this Summer's Olympics. If Nadal does not choose to play, Alex Corretja will have to phone Feliciano Lopez, Fernando Verdasco, Juan Carlos Ferrero and Marcel Granollers.
The Americans are not to be stopped just because of the red clay underneath their shoes, and will definitely give Spain a run for their money. Jim Courier has mentioned that they have (the team) taken the role as the underdogs in this year's Davis Cup. The lineup for both nations are not set in stone and, especially, Courier will be waiting till the time is right to pick his two singles players.
I believe that John Isner will be playing singles no matter what—unless he becomes sorely injured or an asteroid hits the Earth, but hopefully that won't happen. His record so far is 12-3 in tiebreaks this year and has put fear in the minds of his opponents even more now.
The Bryan Brothers are undefeated up against the Spaniards in doubles, and have always performed A+++ on clay.
It is hard to predict this one, but I am leaning towards the Americans on this one. I have always rooted Spain in the Davis Cup, but the U.S. have really surprised me with how they have been doing this year.
It's still very early, but it can easily be said that this is anyone's win.
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