The 2012 Davis Cup by BNP Paribas World Group semifinal match between the United States and Spain is set for this weekend in Gijon, Spain, at the Parque Hermanos Castro on an outdoor red clay court. The U.S. will play on the road for the seventh time in its last eight ties since defeating Switzerland in the 2009 first round in Birmingham, Ala. This semifinal tie marks the 11th matchup overall between the U.S. and Spain in Davis Cup competition with the overall series being tied at 5-5. Spain defeated the United States, 3-1, in their last meeting in the 2011 Davis Cup quarterfinal in Austin, Texas—the last time the U.S. played a home tie. The U.S. is 1-4 against Spain when playing on the road, having last won in Barcelona in 1972. Spain last hosted the U.S. in the 2008 World Group Semifinal in Madrid and defeated the U.S., 4-1.
"The stadium is very well done; the facilities are wonderful for us. We have had a very good practice week," said U.S. Davis Cup Captain Jim Courier. " I think the hometown, Spain, is the favorite. They are a fantastic team; they could make three or four Davis cup teams that would be very good, considering how many players they have. But we are here to play, we are here to compete and we will take our chances here this weekend."
This tie pits the all-time winningest team (U.S.) versus the most dominant team of the past five years (Spain). The U.S. leads all nations with 32 Davis Cup titles and Spain has won three Davis Cup titles in the last four years. The U.S. and Spain have also combined to capture four of the last five Davis Cup titles (U.S. in 2007, Spain in 2008-09 and 2011). The two nations have met once in the Davis Cup Final, with Spain winning, 3-2, in 2004. Spain currently has a 25-tie winning streak on clay, dating back to the 1999 World Group First Round. The U.S. has a four-match winning streak on clay—all away ties.
In today's match, Spain's David Ferrer maintained his unbeaten record in Davis Cup clay-court rubbers (15-0) by beating American Sam Querrey 4-6, 6-2, 6-2, 6-4 in just over three hours. Ferrer has a 20-4 record overall for Spain.
Nicolas Almagro takes on American John Isner in the second singles rubber. Isner, who will follow Querrey, is undefeated in Davis Cup this year, going 4-0 in singles in the first two ties. In the first round in Switzerland, his two wins included the upset of then-world number three Roger Federer in Isner’s first live singles match win and arguably one of the biggest wins of his career. In the quarterfinal in France, he won two live singles rubbers to clinch the United States’ semifinal berth.
"Our team has played in some tough environments before and we expect a tough environment tomorrow, but at the same time we know it is going to be a lot of fun," said Isner. "I am just going to go out there and try to enjoy it. It is going to be a good challenge and it is going to be in front of a big crowd. I don’t think it is going to be anything I’m not used to. They have two guys who are top ten in the world playing this tie. The team is so deep."
The weekend's remaining schedule is as follows:
►Saturday Doubles: Bob Bryan & Mike Bryan (USA) vs. Marcel Granollers & Marc Lopez (ESP)
►Sunday Singles C: John Isner (USA) vs. David Ferrer (ESP)
►Sunday Singles D: Sam Querrey (USA) vs. Nicolas Almagro (ESP)
"We have a pretty good record on the road," said Mike Bryan. "We treat all these road ties as Grand Slam finals. We played every road tie on clay and we are pretty comfortable on clay. We have good game plans coming in playing a lot of clay court players and we are playing another really good clay court team. This could be our toughest away tie match, as it is against a top five team in the world."