It is said that form and world rankings count for little in the Davis Cup. David Nalbandian and Eduardo Schwank proved the point here yesterday with an outstanding 6-4 6-2 6-3 victory over Spain's Feliciano Lopez and Fernando Verdasco to keep alive Argentina's chances of winning the 111-year-old competition for the first time in their history.
After the victories of Rafael Nadal and David Ferrer in the opening two singles rubbers on Friday, most of the home fans in the 27,000-plus crowd were expecting Lopez and Verdasco to complete Spain's fifth Davis Cup triumph in the past 12 years. The two men have plenty of experience playing together and were facing opponents who had never previously joined forces.
Nalbandian has looked a spent force in recent times,but the 29-year-old's talenthas never been in doubt and his calm assurance seemedto inspire the 25-year-old Schwank.
The Argentinian pair never looked back after breaking Lopez's serve as early as the fifth game. Both Spaniards were broken at the start of the second set, while the big-serving Lopez double-faulted on break point in the opening game of the third and was broken yet again in the final game.
Spain are still favourites to secure the trophy in this afternoon's reverse singles. Nadal and Ferrer have never lost a singles rubber on clay.