Berlocq Leads Argentina to Upset of France in Davis Cup

by John on April 8, 2013

Carlos Berlocq

Argentine Carlos Berlocq held his nerve in the deciding fifth rubber of Davis Cup quarterfinal competition yesterday to defeat Frenchman Gilles Simon 6-4, 5-7, 6-4, 6-4 and propel Argentina to a 3-2 victory over heavily favored France in Buenos Aires. It was four-time finalist Argentina’s first win in six tries against nine-time champion France. Argentina moves on to play defending champion Czech Republic in the semifinals in September. Earlier in the day, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga defeated Argentina’s Juan Monaco 6-3, 6-3, 6-0 to level the tie at 2-2. “I have no words to say how I feel,” Berlocq said. “You can’t imagine how frightened I was when I took the court to start the match.” The French team was loaded with Tsonga ranked No. 8 in the world and Simon No. 13. Simon was a late replacement for No. 9-ranked Richard Gasquet, who suffered an ankle injury prior to the tie. Argentina’s top gun, No. 7-ranked Juan Martin del Potro, chose to skip the quarterfinals, as well as the opener against Germany in February, to focus on the ATP Tour. Berlocq, No. 71 in the world, had taken Tsonga to five tough sets in the opening match of the best-of-five rubbers format on Friday before falling to the Frenchman in almost four hours. Monaco, at No. 19 the highest ranked Argentine playing, buzzed though Simon in straight sets in the second rubber to even things up at 1-1 after the first day. On Saturday, David Nalbandian and Horacio Zeballos staged a remarkable comeback from 1-1 and 2-5 down to defeat the French doubles duo of Julien Benneteau and Michael Llodra in four sets to give the Argentines a 2-1 advantage. Berlocq took charge in the fourth set of his deciding match when he broke Simon in the sixth game to lead 4-2. Up 5-2 with Simon serving, Berlocq had three match points but failed to cash any of them. Simon broke in the next game to close the gap to 5-4 and give Berlocq a case of sweaty palms. But just as he had done in the first and third sets, Berlocq broke in the pivotal 10th game, sealing the victory in three hour and 48 minutes on his sixth match point. “I feel like this was quite a feat,” Berlocq said. Indeed it was.



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