Rough day if you’re an Argie, amazing day if you’re a Frenchie.
Pico attempted to do what he does best on hard courts: grind away on serve and hope for a bit of a fluke break. He got one in the second set and couldn’t capitalize, and got one in the second and was able to capitalize. Sadly, Llodra was serving like a psycho and was dynamite when he got his first serve bombs in. Pico tried to step in more and play a bit more aggressively, but it didn’t work. He also got burned in cross court rallies. He played them too much like a clay rally, and refused to go down the line. They were typically on the ad side, which meant that changing directions for leftie Llodra was easy peasy, and he ripped a few for winners or unreturnables.
Next up was Nalby and Gael. Gael really did bring his A game, and was firing out of the blocks. He won the first set, then dropped the second. From that point on, it was Gael’s match. It was a battle of Gael’s fitness and Nalby’s mental fitness, and Nalby lost. While he pushed Monf around endlessly, played drop shots, and made him run miles after miles, Gael was more than content to do it. And when Gael got a forehand opportunity, he drained every single one. Slowly but surely, Monf started winning some of those ridiculous points, and kept on getting to the ball. Nalby’s tricks, the drop shot, firing behind Monf, whatever, eventually stopped working. Nalby started making errors, botching volleys, and it was the crack of light that Gael needed to jack the crowd up and ride the horse home.
France has never lost to Argentina, and Argentina has never come back from 0-2 down. It’s more or less sealed, unless Monf decides to go brain dead. Because even a passive Monf will take out Pico, sadly. Though again, don’t be surprised to see the Argies take the dubs tomorrow.
It was nothing but madness in Belgrade arena. Viktor was stuck in for Nole, who probably still has jetlag. He lost (on indoor hard courts? Really?) to Steps, who I had proclaimed as good as dead. What a Davis Cup legend.
Then the match I thought I was sure of turned out to be the total opposite, with Janko totally disposing of Berd. Weird. Janko has been absolutely fantastic since Wimbledon, Berd has been sub-par at best. I guess that might begin to explain it.
Strange as it is, it’s a 1-1 tie, which is what I expected. I’ll be utterly shocked if Serbia doesn’t clean house in the doubles tomorrow.