American Andy Roddick beat Fernando Gonzalez, 4-6, 7-5, 6-3, 6-2, to clinch the Davis Cup quarterfinal tie against Chile.
In the third set of the Davis Cup match between American Andy Roddick and Chilean Fernando Gonzalez, Gonzalez and Roddick had traded breaks and Gonzalez was serving at 3-4 when all hell erupted. Gonzalez hit a backhand slice cross court and Roddick went outside the court to run around his backhand and hit a ball down the line.
it probably would have been a riot if this had been a soccer match between the US and Chile
The ball appeared to land just outside the line. But it was called good. Gonzalez walked up to the offending linesperson and put his hands up in the prayer position to ask for justice but it wasn’t forthcoming. Hans Gildemeister, the Chilean captain, protested so long and hard that the offical Davis Cup referee had to come out and tell Gildemeister to sit down. Roddick said after the match that “it turned into a riot.” A bit overstated perhaps – nobody left their seat – but it probably would have been a riot if this had been a soccer match between the US and Chile.
It’s bad enough that the call looked wrong but it also gave Roddick a break point. On the next point, Gonzalez hit a forehand long and Roddick had his break.
After the game, Gonzalez prowled behind the baseline within intimidating distance of the same linesperson as Roddick prepared to serve to go up two sets to one. I would have been much happier if Gonzalez had held his serve so that it remained a fair match.
Gonzalez is not immune to gamesmanship. As the commentators put it, “… he’s very calculated in his maneuvers.” In his victory over James Blake in the first match of this tie, he took two medical timeouts to get treatment for cramps in his left leg. The rules restrict a player to one medical time out per medical complaint. But’s that’s Davis Cup. Not only that, it’s pretty standard for any tournament these days. But he’s a fierce competitor who lifts his game for Davis Cup. He’s 12-3 in singles and Chile is 8-3 when he plays singles.
Even so, the match with Blake was exhausting. It lasted four hours and twenty minutes with the fifth going to 10-8 and here he is stuck playing on a temporary grass court in the middle of a windy desert in enemy territory. That’s lot to ask of anyone and it’s too much to ask of Gonzalez today. He lost his first service game in the fourth set and never recovered. Roddick won the match, 4-6, 7-5, 6-3, 6-2, and the US had its third win of the tie sending them into the Davis Cup semifinals against Russia in Moscow this September. We can be sure the match won’t be on grass.
when McEnroe Sr. said that Gonzales should have been defaulted for complaining and smashing his racket, well, that’s like the father of the pot calling the kettle black
Roddick won both of his matches in this tie and looks rejuvenated. In his match against Gonzalez, he came to the net as if he really meant it. I’d given up on asking Roddick to be more aggressive but team captain Patrick McEnroe, who is back home in New York awaiting the imminent birth of his daughter, said in a phone interview that he wants to see Roddick at the net more instead of blasting forehands from behind the baseline. Maybe Roddick should hire McEnroe as his coach.
Still, Roddick is not out of the woods yet, this is grass not clay, and he is acutely aware of his position. After the match an interviewer congratulated him for closing out a Davis Cup victory for the seventh time but Roddick wasn’t exactly celebratory: “I always play first on the last day until in about two weeks when James (Blake) takes the first American spot away from me.”
Blake is not the star yet. Acting captain Dean Goldfine made him play scrub Paul Capdeville in the meaningless fifth match instead of letting Bob or Mike Bryan take a shot at it. Blake didn’t appear to appreciate it. He lost easily and quickly, 6-3, 6-4. John McEnroe’s father sat in the booth with Barry McKay and Leif Shiras after the match and chided Blake by saying that “John used to take these dead rubber ties very seriously, he’d go out and try like hell to win.” Fair enough, but when McEnroe Sr. said that Gonzalez should have been defaulted for complaining and smashing his racket, well, that’s like the father of the pot calling the kettle black.