Romania had to wait until the last point to raise a smile in Buenos Aires, where Argentina advanced to the Davis Cup by BNP Paribas quarterfinals with a 4-1 scoreline.
With the tie already decided by Saturday afternoon, Eduardo Schwank replaced an injured David Nalbandian to overcome Romanian Victor Crivoi 76(3) 62 in the first match of the day, while Adrian Ungur collected the only win for his country with a 64 26 63 victory over Juan Monaco.
Argentina has reached the quarterfinals each year since returning to the World Group in 2002, and will face Kazakhstan on 8-10 July, again with home advantage and most probably in Parque Roca. It will be the first encounter between the two nations.
Argentina awaits Del Potro
Argentina proved once again to be one of the toughest teams to beat at home, overcoming injuries and the absence of Juan Martin del Potro. Nalbandian won a personal fight against his own troubled body on Friday to beat Ungur. The Argentine star ended up in tears because of the pain he had suffered, but also as a sign of emotional relief.
If things would have been different, Monaco’s victory over Victor Hanescu on Friday would have probably been more transcendent than Nalbandian’s. Monaco played with confidence and is a good option for his team in singles, especially at home and on clay, where Argentina haven’t lost since 2003 against Spain, in Malaga.
The long wait for the quarterfinals will perhaps help Nalbandian’s injuries to heal. He might undergo hernia surgery and has to recover from a left adductor tear suffered on Friday during his victory over Ungur.
“Definitely it is better to have time. The condition of the players with the injuries are changing continuously, so it’s always important to wait a little while to see who is in the best of shape at the time when the tie comes,” said Tito Vazquez, Argentina’s captain.
But the most important news might be Del Potro’s comeback. He is now focused on recovering the best of his game after being sidelined almost the entire last year due to a right wrist injury. But he promised captain Vazquez he will be able to play in the next round.
“I hope he’ll be ready to play. I think he surprised everybody doing better than expected and winning a title already. Although we lost, he was very important for us when we played against Czech Republic in 2009, in Ostrava. He promised to be with us next time and I’m very glad about that,” added Vazquez.
With Nalbandian and Del Potro in good shape, Argentina feels the dream of winning the Davis Cup is closer. The captain agrees: “When you have your best players you always have better chances.”
Looking ahead to the quarterfinals against Kazakhstan, Vazquez explained: “They collected a big win against Czech Republic so they deserve all our respect, but I’d rather play them than Czech Republic. We have good chances and will be the favourites to win.”