Davis Cup: Fish Keeps U.S. in World Group
Clinches Victory in 5-set Thriller Over Colombia
By Junior Williams
BOGOTA – Mardy Fish wore red, white and blue today — but red wasn’t part of the plan.
The American’s blood-stained shirt was indicative of the battle he was in, as he led the United States to a 3-6 6-3 7-5 4-6 8-6 victory over Santiago Giraldo and Colombia at the Plaza de Toros la Santamaria,giving the U.S. a 3-1 lead and clinching its return to the Davis Cup World Group
Fish, who injured his hand during a fall in the match, played almost 11 hours of tennisÂ totalÂ against the Colombians, and is the first American to win three rubbers in a Davis Cup tie since Pete Sampras in 1995’sÂ championship against Russia.
The result also gives outgoing U.S. Davis Cup captain Patrick McEnroe his final victory after ten years at the helm, while denying Colombia its first-ever advance to the top tier.
The first set was controlled by Giraldo, who was winning the long rallies, going from serve to serve at a rapid pace, and dancing on the baselines like a boxer going for the knockout. Fish ended up double faulting away the set.
The momentum switched to Fish in the second set, as his overhead smash broke Giraldo’s serve to give the U.S. a 2-1 edge. Fish went on to win the set as he baffled Giraldo by mixing up the pace of his serves,and his drop shots exposed Giraldo’s weaknesses at the net.
Things really heated up in the third set with Giraldo serving at 5-6, when the umpire’sÂ controversial overturn of a line call resulted in a double set point for Fish instead of 30-30. After protesting the call along with his captain Felipe Beron, an angry Giraldo promptly double faulted, giving the set to Fish.
Still fuming over the call while playing in the fourth set, Giraldo eventually shook it off and got his game back on track, helped in part by Fish constantly knocking backhands into the net. The bullring crowd erupted into a frenzy when Giraldo tied the match at two sets apiece.
The fifth set was intense, with long rallies and great shot making by both players. Fish tried to shake things up by coming to the net, but Giraldo’s impressive passing shots foiled the American’s strategy.Fish’s erratic serving and backhands into the net eventually resulted in a 6-5 lead for Colombia, giving Giraldo an opportunity to serve out the match and set up a fifth and deciding rubber.
But Giraldo disappointed the hometown crowd by failing to close the deal, and Fish broke back, tying the set at 6-6. He held serve by staving off a pair of break points, and clinched the tie by breaking Giraldo in the final game.
Just minutes after the Americans celebrated on the court, it started pouring rain, as if the clouds were crying for the home team.The dead rubber was canceled.Junior Williams is a long-time journalist and tennis fan. At a moment’s notice he can give you a list of all the Davis Cup match-ups that would give the US home ties. He was in Bogota for Global Village Tennis News covering the US vs Colombia Davis Cup tie.Gracias, Bogota by Junior Williams