The U.S. won its Davis Cup tie over Sweden and will now play the final against Russia on its home court. That’s what I’m talking about.
I am a happy camper. I’m going to the Davis Cup final because it’s right here in the U.S. Andy Roddick finished off Jonas Bjorkman as the U.S. won the tie, 3-1, despite a virus that seems to have made its way around the world.
Everyone on the U.S. team was affected by a flu bug so maybe I was too hard on James Blake for losing to Thomas Johansson on Friday. Maybe he wasn’t feeling too good but how was I supposed to know? The U.S. team did everything they could to keep it quiet. Besides, Johansson got the bug too and that’s why Bjorkman got a call Sunday morning telling him to get ready to play Roddick.
About a thousand miles south by south east in a hotel room in Moscow, Tommy Haas was dealing with his own viral infection and couldn’t play his reverse singles match. Instead, number 206 ranked Philipp Petzschner had to play the fourth rubber for Germany against Russia’s Mikhail Youzhny.
Germany was up 2-1 after they won the doubles match on Saturday and they only needed one more victory to win the tie and play the final in Germany. But they couldn’t do it. Petzschner lost to Youzhny and Philipp Kohlschreiber lost to Igor Andreev. Fine by me.
The only way Bjorkman could have beaten Roddick was to return serve exceptionally well and attack relentlessly. Not only is that Bjorkman’s game, but he’s never going to win a baseline match. Bjorkman attacked the net and tried to finish points as quickly as possible if he was at the baseline. He managed to do both things but he never managed to do them at the same time.
In the first set Bjorkman hit balls out of the court because he was going for too much. Errors accounted for both service breaks he suffered in the first set. In the second set he hit 27 winners but his first serve percentage plummeted so he couldn’t serve and volley. He did get to the tiebreaker in the second set but he was down 5-0 before he got a first serve in and Roddick is not likely to lose many service points in a tiebreaker.
In the third set Roddick broke Bjorkman’s serve by hitting, believe it or not, four good returns of serve. One of them was an accident but it worked. Roddick won the match, 6-2, 7-6(3), 6-4.
It’s unfortunate for Germany and Sweden that their best players weren’t available. If the U.S. were to lose Andy Roddick, they’d be in deep, deep trouble themselves. As for now, though, Roddick has a good chance of adding a Davis Cup trophy to his other accomplishments.
Today’s win was the ninth straight time Roddick has won the deciding rubber in a Davis Cup tie and even if Roddick doesn’t get that Wimbledon title he’d really love to have, that’s a record he can be proud of.
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