USA and Colombia at 1-1 on Day One of the World Group Play-offs
By Junior Williams
BOGOTA – Sunday is guaranteed to have meaning in the Davis Cup World GroupÂ Play-offÂ showdown between the United States and Colombia, as both teams finished the first day of play knotted up at 1-1.
The first match saw American Mardy Fish outlast Colombia’s Alejandro Falla in a four-hour, five-set nail-biter, 4-6, 6-1, 6-4, 3-6, 6-4.
The story of the first set was Fish’s inability to get his first serves in. Falla took advantage and got off to an early lead, overshadowing the highlight of the set — Fish’s between-the-legs shot from the baseline that Falla failed to put away for a winner.
Fish’s service game improved in the second set, and so did his fortunes as he easily knotted up the match, getting some help from Falla, who started having his own service issues and didn’t capitalize on a number of balls he should have converted into points.
In the third set, both players figured out how to hold serve, until the ninth game, when Falla’s double fault gave the U.S. a 5-4 lead.Fish closed out the set 6-4, but not without some drama — it took himf our set points to give the U.S. a 2-1 lead.
Falla bounced back in the fourth set, helped by a boisterous crowd at La Plaza de Toros la Santamaria. The hometown fans cheered loud and hard during Fish’s entire service game and the American was broken,giving Colombia a 5-4 lead. Falla staved off a number of break points in the following game to take the set.
A closely-contested fifth set was won by Fish, who fell to his knees after breaking Falla for the U.S. victory.
The second matchÂ between American Sam Querrey and Colombian Santiago Giraldo was a totally different story. Giraldo, who won 6-2 6-47-5, was on fire and clicking on all cylinders with a strong service game, powerful strokes and aggressive play. The first set took only 20 minutes, as Querrey struggled with his service game,
Things didn’t get any better for Querrey in the second set as he was broken by Giraldo in the first game, causing one Colombian fan in the stands to exclaim, “Uncle Sam is in trouble.”
He was right. 54 minutes into the match, Giraldo had won two sets.
Querrey’s game improved in the third set, and he threatened Giraldo in the tenth game, but the Colombian hung tough, staving off three set points to knot the set at 5-5. He then went on to break Querrey in the next game, and ended up serving out the match with an ace, and seat cushions rained onto the court as the Colombian fans danced in jubilation.
Saturday’s pivotal doubles match-up pits John Isner and American newcomer Ryan Harrison against Colombia’s Robert Farah and Carlos Salamanca.Â A big factor here: Long-time American stalwarts Bob and Mike Bryan are not on the team this time around to help Patrick McEnroe end his ten-year Davis Cup captaincy with a victory.
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’s in Bogota reporting for Global Village Tennis News and will tweet using the GVTN twitter account over the weekend.