Argentina stay alive in final

2011-12-03 20:26

Seville - Argentina kept their Davis Cup final hopes alive on Saturday when David Nalbandian and Eduardo Schwank defeated Spain's Feliciano Lopez and Fernando Verdasco 6-4, 6-2, 6-3 to cut the deficit to 2-1.

The result means the final will be decided on Sunday when Rafael Nadal tackles Juan Martin del Potro before David Ferrer is scheduled to meet Juan Monaco in the last reverse singles.

Nalbandian and Schwank were playing together for the first time but they overwhelmed the Spanish pair who have now lost 11 of their 12 matches in the competition.

Nadal and Ferrer had won Friday's opening singles as they aim for a fifth Davis Cup title and history remains on their side -- the last team to recover from a 2-0 deficit in the final was Australia in 1939.

Argentina are bidding for a first Davis Cup title having lost both their previous finals - against Spain in 2008 and Russia in 2006.

"We played great. We knew it was a very important match and we played unbelievable from the start to the end," said Nalbandian, who could replace Monaco in Sunday's singles.

"The result shows how well we played. They didn't break us and we played well at the net. It'll still be very difficult on Sunday. We knew the doubles would be crucial so we will see what happens on Sunday. But we are still alive."

Six-time French Open champion Nadal will again hold the key in the reverse singles.

His easy 6-1, 6-1, 6-2 win over close friend Monaco on Friday was his 19th win in 20 singles rubbers for Spain.

His only loss came to Czech Jiri Novak on his debut - as a 17-year-old - in February 2004. He is 15-0 in clay-court rubbers.

Nadal will take a 6-3 career lead into his clash with former US Open winner Del Potro, a record which includes the pair's only previous meeting on clay, a straight sets win in the first round at Roland Garros in 2007.

The world number two also boasts a formidable record having won 66 of 67 best-of-five-sets match on clay, with his sole defeat coming at the hands of Robin Soderling at Roland Garros in 2009.

Del Potro will go into Sunday having played for almost five hours on Friday when he lost 6-2, 6-7 (2/7), 3-6, 6-4, 6-3 to Ferrer.