GIJON, Spain — John Isner and the U.S. Davis Cup team saw firsthand that Spain’s dominance isn’t limited to Rafael Nadal.
Ferrer beat Isner 6-7 (3), 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 on Sunday to give the five-time champions an insurmountable 3-1 lead and a shot at a fourth title in five years. They’ll face the Czech Republic on the road in the final. The Czechs wrapped up a victory over Argentina on Sunday.
Helped by Isner’s 70 unforced errors, the fifth-ranked Ferrer rallied to stay unbeaten on clay in the competition with his 16th consecutive win.
Isner, a former Georgia star, was left slamming his racket in frustration.
“Spain is the high water mark in the Davis Cup in the last 15 years. We always knew it was going to be close,” U.S. captain Jim Courier said. “They have great individual players, great depth and great passion for Davis Cup. It’s not rocket science. You have great ingredients and you have to blend them together, and they do a great job.”
Ferrer and Nadal had both said they would scale back Davis Cup availability after helping clinch last year’s final title against Argentina. While Nadal has since been limited by injury, Ferrer decided to return to make this his team now.
“This is the competition in which I have felt the most emotions in. I’m a team player,” said Ferrer, who has played a part in each of Spain’s last three titles. “I don’t know how much longer my career will last, so I want to do my best possible in the Davis Cup. (Spain captain) Alex Corretja motivated me to play this season.”
Spain stretched its record home winning streak to 24in a row, and it hasn’t lost on clay for 26 series. Its last clay loss was in 1999.
And, just like in 2008, it did it without Nadal.
Isner had more than twice as many unforced errors as Ferrer at the near capacity 15,000-seat venue on the Asturian coast. He looked little like the player who beat Roger Federer in Switzerland in the competition earlier this year.
WORLD TEAM TENNIS: In Charleston, S.C., Venus Williams helped Washington catch up, then beat Coco Vandeweghe in a last-game tiebreaker as the Kastles completed their second straight undefeated championship season in World Team Tennis with a 20-19 victory over Sacramento on Sunday.
Washington (16-0) has won 32 consecutive matches the past two seasons.
Williams, the seven-time Grand Slam champion, was front and center for Washington’s latest title run. She teamed with Anastasia Rodionova to win the women’s doubles match 5-1. After Western Conference champion Sacramento moved ahead 11-10 with a 5-2 win in men’s doubles, Williams and Leander Paes took the win in mixed doubles in a last-game tiebreaker to square the finals at 15-games apiece.