SEVILLE, Spain — Argentina won the doubles against Spain to trail 2-1 in the Davis Cup final, although the South Americans will face Rafael Nadal on his favorite clay surface today.
David Nalbandian and Eduardo Schwank, partnering for the first time, eased to a 6-4, 6-2, 6-3 victory Saturday over Spanish pair Fernando Verdasco and Feliciano Lopez on the clay at Olympic Stadium.
Nadal, unbeaten on clay in 16 Davis Cup matches, opens today for four-time champion Spain against Juan Martin del Potro.
The South Americans broke five times and overcame three break points to extend the series. The visitors need to sweep today’s reverse singles to become the first team in 72 years to rally from a 2-0 deficit.
“We played a great game. We’re in very good shape, and the series is still alive,” Nalbandian said. “Our hope is intact.”
The 11th-ranked Del Potro needs to recover quickly from his exhausting, nearly five-hour loss to David Ferrer on Friday
Nadal and Ferrer practiced Saturday. The pair are a combined 27-0 on clay for Spain, which hasn’t lost a home series on clay since 1999.
“I’m not pessimistic. Tomorrow we have Nadal and Ferrer to win one point,” said Spain captain Albert Costa, who expected Nalbandian to replace Juan Monaco should the final stretch to a fifth match.
Lopez and Verdasco again failed to follow up an impressive sweep of the opening singles by Nadal and David Ferrer.
They also lost in the semifinals against France in which they won only three games. Their cup win-loss record together stands at 7-6.
“Today was one of those days I’d like to forget,” Lopez said. “It was my worst ever Davis Cup match.”