Davis Cup 2023: Spain falls to the Czech Republic and is on the edge of the precipice in Davis | Tennis | Sports


The story of this group stage of the Davis Cup began crookedly for Spain and the premiere not only failed to straighten the course, but also fueled pessimism. The same day that Carlos Alcaraz announced his resignation, last Saturday, the Spanish team already suffered a spasm that was extended until this Wednesday, the date of takeoff at Fonteta. Without the Murcian on the poster, doubts and more doubts were reflected in the debut against the Czech Republic, winner of a series (2-0) that leaves the group led by David Ferrer in a very delicate position. Taking into account the system of the new format, Spain is obliged to beat Serbia on Friday and, of course, South Korea at the end of Sunday. Any other variable would leave it out.

Without the contribution of the Murcian or that of Rafael Nadal, one by his own decision and the other due to force majeure, the new captain was forced to resort to a set of circumstances, also taking into account that the brave Pablo Carreño is still in the reserve, injured, and that Roberto Bautista has arrived at the appointment between cottons. The situation, therefore, has forced Ferrer to rely on a second line without baggage whose seams were visible. Alejandro Davidovich (7-6(5) and 7-5 against Jiri Lehecka) had tried the doubles experience last year, but until now he had not played any individual duel in the competition, and the Valencian Bernabé Zapata (double 6- 4 favorable to Tomas Machac) is even more new.

Spain lost in these first two matches and its presence in the Finals that will be held in November, in Malaga, seems rather complicated. The toll of the setback in the premiere leads him to a very compromised and to some extent distressing situation, because it does not seem like it would be a good idea to gamble with Novak Djokovic and his clique. The defeat against the Czechs and the resounding victory of the Balkans against Korea, on Tuesday, make the pass subject to a double victory in the remaining series. The first two finishers in each group prosper and everything suggests that Spain, the Czech Republic and Korea will be the ones fighting for second place. The beginning was not encouraging at all.

Two bad games condemned Zapata in the opening, who delivered the serve as soon as the match opened and then, uphill, gave up a second break which decided in favor of Machac. Not the slightest tremor in the Czech. Despite his inferiority in the ranking –he is 119th in the world and Spanish is 75th–, he read perfectly and showed the way to his people. He only conceded one break option and sealed it firmly, the same one that Lehecka had in continuity. “I should have been more patient. I came out a little nervous and he managed all the situations very well. This will help me learn. I think I have competed well, but being tense has made it difficult for me to reach my best level,” said the 26-year-old Valencian who this season has shown signs of progression, climbing to 37th place.

Davidovich also paid dearly for a couple of mistakes in the duel between the two references. Lehecka – at 21 years old, a quarterfinalist this year in Australia and 30th on the list – approached him with determination and after winning the tiebreaker of the first set, took advantage of a couple of slips by the Malaga native in the final stretch – a break for 6-5 – and rounded out the victory. The mission was not easy. The Andalusian jumped onto the Valencia court – less than half an inning, in line with the also soulless landscape these days in Manchester, Split and Bologna, the other venues – knowing that he had to win no matter what, and against an opponent who beat him in the only precedent between the two, this year at Queen’s. Although he kept his cool for most of the duel, he lost finesse at the critical moment and Spain was left on the ropes.

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