Wed, Mar 11, 2015 - Page 19 News List

Argentina reach Davis Cup quarter-finals


Argentina reached the Davis Cup quarter-finals when Federico Delbonis beat Thomaz Bellucci 6-3, 3-6, 6-2, 7-5 on the fourth day of an epic tie against Brazil to seal a 3-2 win on Monday.

Four-time finalists Argentina are set to meet world No. 1 Novak Djokovic’s Serbia, the 2010 champions, in another home tie in the last eight on July 17-19.

Argentina hope to have former US Open champion Juan Martin del Potro back in the team if he has recovered from a wrist injury.

“Leo’s win yesterday allowed me to play today for the victory. Thanks to the crowd for their support,” Delbonis said courtside on Monday.

Argentina had flirted with defeat by their bitter South American rivals when they were 2-1 down after the doubles and No. 1 Leonardo Mayer needed 11 match points to overcome Joao Souza in the fourth rubber, which lasted a competition singles-record six hours and 42 minutes on Sunday.

Delbonis reached his first match point after a Bellucci drive landed over the baseline after one of the many long rallies in a tense final rubber which began on Sunday.

He sealed the win with a fine drive down the line out of the Brazilian’s reach.

The Argentine No. 2 carried a first set lead into Monday’s extra day on the purpose built clay court at the Tecnopolis exhibition center on the city outskirts.

Delbonis lost the second set, but his greater accuracy with drives and backhands from the baseline and Bellucci’s higher number of unforced errors, especially when at the net, saw Delbonis through to victory.

With a colorful group of Brazilian fans no longer in Buenos Aires on Monday, the court was packed full of Argentine support that unsettled Bellucci, loudly cheered every Delbonis point and launched into soccer-style chants at every interval.

Brazil, who reached the World Group when they beat Spain in last year’s promotion-relegation round, will be looking to retain their status in the same playoffs later this year.

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