Ferrer to lead Spain against Austria
Originally published on: 03/04/12 14:13
The return of David Ferrer will give Spain confidence that they can extend one of the most remarkable records in Davis Cup World Group history this week. Spain take on Austria in a quarter-final at Oropesa del Mar on the Costa del Azahar aiming to record their 23rd consecutive victory on home soil.
Victory No.22 came in February with a 5-0 thrashing of Kazakhstan in Oviedo, where Nicolas Almagro and Juan Carlos Ferrero were ably supported by the doubles pairing of Marcel Granollers and Marc Lopez. This week’s Spanish line-up is the same except for the replacement of Ferrero by Ferrer.
Spain have not lost a home tie this century. Their last home defeat came in Lerida in 1999, when a Gustavo Kuerten-inspired Brazil won 3-2. Kuerten won both his singles rubbers against Alex Corretja (who is now Spain’s captain) and Carlos Moya. In the doubles he joined forces with Jaime Oncins to beat Corretja and Albert Costa.
Ferrer, who played a key role in Spain’s Davis Cup triumph last year, has a superb record in the competition. He has played 12 rubbers on clay and won them all. Almagro has lost only one of the six rubbers he has played on clay, having lost in five sets to Stanislas Wawrinka two years ago.
Austria, nevertheless, will have history on their side. They have won three of the previous four meetings between the two countries, including the most recent in 1995, when Thomas Muster led the home team to a 4-1 victory in Vienna.
This time Austria will rely heavily on Jurgen Melzer, the world No.21, whose two victories were crucial in the 3-2 victory over Russia in the first round. Andreas Haider-Maurer (world No.139) is expected to fill the second singles berth, while Oliver Marach (world No.31 in doubles) is set to play doubles with either Melzer or Alexander Peya.