Argentina challenges Spain with pending accounts

Duel of old friends, and intimate enemies, for a place in the semifinals. The albicelestes lost two finals against Spain, and still stings Mar del Plata.

Monday of rehearsals on the central court. Rafa Nadal passes behind Diego Schwartzman and Guido Pella, who cross balls, and jokes loudly with Pablo Carreño to be heard by Argentines: "These guys are fine, eh? Go with the Argentine duo!" The same protagonists of the good vibes will fight this Friday (17:30, #Vamos) to face a dog for a place in the semifinal of the first edition of the new Davis of Gerard Piqué. Old friends and enemies at the same time. Players from countries that, by language and affinity, share many hours of leisure and training on the circuit.

Fortune smiled at Argentina, which defeated Chile 3-0 on the first day, but then skated 0-3 against Germany. Gastón Gaudio, his captain, practically said goodbye to Madrid. "We are all very bitter, the sport is quite ungrateful," he said resignedly ... until yesterday, several carambolas were placing the ball of second best (the other was Russia, which could not be measured with Spain when sharing group) in the albiceleste locker. adjusted best percentage of sets won decided, leaving out Belgium, the United States, France and Kazakhstan, the other applicants.

Argentina, with one of the loudest fans, gets in the way of the five-time champions on a pleasant surface for both, but on which the locals are better managed, who saw how the most pleasant part of the picture fell by his side. The Great Britain of the still diminished Andy Murray (did not play yesterday in the 2-1 victory against Kazakhstan) and a Germany that does not have Alexander Zverev (he preferred a bowling for South America with Federer) will play the place in the semifinal. On the top, a plugged Novak Djokovic (double 6-3 to Paire for 2-1 to France) will have to deal with Russian Stachavists Khachanov and Rublev.

The albicelestes, which swell rapidly, present themselves with pending accounts: they fell 3-1 to Nadal, Ferrer, Feliciano and Verdasco in the final of the Charterhouse of Seville in 2011. And, above all, they suffered a humiliation in Mar del Plata in 2008, where his two stars, David Nalbandián and Juan Martín del Potro, ended up stumbling. Rafa, who Tandil was going to get "the ortho calzones", was not due to injury. Ferrer fell in the first single, Feliciano knocked Del Potro, pulled Verdasco in the doubles while the stands chanted the famous "Verdasco is afraid" and the Madrid closed the miracle in front of Acasuso. "No one believed we could win," the protagonists say.

Of those teams in Argentina, which in 2016 achieved its first Salad Bowl, there is no one left. Del Potro, who is also injured, decided to leave the team. And Schwartzman (27 years and 14th of the ATP) will have to face his admired Nadal, with whom he has trained in his academy in Manacor, in the second clash. It will open, predictably, Pablo Carreño before Guido Pella (25th). The gijonés will be in principle the relief of Roberto Bautista, who left the concentration yesterday for the unfortunate death of his father. Feliciano is in the bedroom.

And the doubles? "I will play until he gives me," replies Nadal willing to do everything after his successful debut with Granollers against Croatia. The jokes were left for workouts.

Champions in Paris on the benches

Sergi Bruguera (48 years old) and Gaston Gaudio (40) share the status of Roland Garros champions. The Spanish, in 1993 and 1994, and the Argentine, in 2004. The albicelestes agreed to the finals with an invitation from the organization, which granted another to Great Britain. "Although they were born on land, Argentines are already accustomed to these types of surfaces as well. They are very busy from the bottom of the track and I think there will be long exchanges," said the Spanish captain.

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