>The surprise appearances of David Nalbandian, essentially coming to the rescue, in the Davis Cup tie between Sweden and Argentina has proved timely, with the experienced baller helping clinch the all important doubles rubber. Nalbandian proved himself fit, after a recent adductor (inner thigh muscle) tear when playing his first tournament after hip surgery last year, and was named in the doubles team with Horacio Zeballos. The duo battled hard to beat the Swedes, Robin Soderling and Robert Lindstedt, 6-2, 7-6, 7-6, giving Argentina a 2-1 lead in the tie.
Nalbandian proved t be in fine form, holding every service game and showing the form that was reminicent of the Argentine in his prime, with beautiful touch at the net and deadly accuracy on serve. The form was particularly impressive given the fact that he has only played two professional matches since his hip surgery almost a year ago.
The loss is disappointing for the Swedes who were playing with the home court advantage, and with only a small, albeit noisy, Argentinian support group in the crowd. However, the rowdy group of Argentinians went crazy when their boys clinched match point, leading Zeballos to leap into the open arms of Nalbandian.
The win was the first for Nalbandian since he played the 2008 final, in Argentina, against Spain which Spain won, devastating Nalbandian who then refused to speak to media. So for him is was a sweet victory, a promising return to form and a boost in confidence that he needed.
“After nine months out it’s not easy to play well but I think I did well today, Horacio played a great match too. He was incredible. The key was starting really well. I tried to push him all the way and he never let me down. We took every chance they gave us.”
Also promising for Argentina is the possibility that Nalbandian will play a singles rubber despite not originally being named to play any of the rubbers. Captain Tito Vazquez said; “Definitely if he thinks he can play he’s definitely an asset for us and I think that we’ll put him in the team. Today he looked okay, good enough to play our No.2 singles.”
The pressure is now all on Robin Soderling to keep the Swedes alive in the first rubber in the reverse singles on Sunday.