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Davis Cup: Argentina seeks the Finals against Finland under the cold of Espoo but with a warm heart

2023-02-03T17:06:53.898Z


The series opens this Saturday with Pedro Cachín against 43 in the world and then it will be the turn of Fran Cerúndolo against Virtanen. Broadcast TyC Sports from 12.


Argentina

will start its journey this Saturday in the 2023 edition of a

Davis Cup

that is still involved in doubts about its future, after the breach of the contract between the International Tennis Federation (ITF) and the Kosmos group, led by Gerard Piqué.

The draw held this Friday determined that

Pedro Cachín opens the series against Emil Ruusuvuori,

43 in the world, in what will be his absolute debut in the competition.

It will be played on Saturday at 12. Next,

Francisco Cerúndolo vs.

Otto Virtanen

, 181 in the world ranking.

The doubles, on Sunday at 8 and prior to the last two singles, will face

Machi González and Andrés Molteni against the couple of Rusuvuori and Harri Heliovara

(10th in the couples ranking, although his partner is usually the British Lloyd Glasspool) .

All matches will be broadcast by TyC Sports.

The team led by

Guillermo Coria

will look for a victory in the

Qualifiers

 to get into the Finals for the second consecutive year and will have, for various reasons, a very big challenge against

Finland

, in the icy

Espoo

.

The Argentines will not have two of their great figures in recent years,

Diego Schwartzman

, the best ranked tennis player in our country (28th), and

Horacio Zeballos

, 13th in the world in doubles.

The two, with a long history in this competition, will be absent from the series with prior notice and for logical reasons: they come from playing in the heat of Australia and will now face the South American brick dust tour, so a trip to the Nordic cold it was not compatible with their calendars.

Neither will

Sebastián Báez

, 47th of the ATP.

Likewise, Coria managed to put together a "great team", as he assured in recent days.

Francisco Cerúndolo

, 31st in the world, will be the first single.

The 24-year-old from Buenos Aires, champion last year in Bastad, arrives confident after an

Australian Open

in which he reached the third round and won matches in the main draw of a Grand Slam for the first time.

Fran

will look for his first win in Davis.

He lost the two games he played in last year's group stage, in Bologna, against

Jannik Sinner

and

Borna Coric

.

"It's something pending for me, a nice goal. Hopefully I can achieve it against Finland. I feel prepared," he said in a chat with copadavis.com.

In addition to

 Cachín

, 27 years old and 68th in the ranking in one of the best moments of his career, the other single player called up is 

Facundo Bagnis

, 32 years old, 68th in the ATP and who did not debut in Davis either.

"Cachín deserves this chance. He had a great 2022, he was able to establish himself on the circuit and show the level he had been bringing for a long time. And the Bagnis thing is also a prize for effort. He is a great person, who adds a lot", commented the captain.

Cerúndolo is 0-2 in Davis Cup and will be looking for his first win on Saturday.

AAT photo

"Last year there were players who had a better year than me and had earned their place. Today I feel that it is my moment to debut. I feel prepared and calm, although surely hours before entering the field fears or anxiety", commented the man from Cordoba, who has yet to win a game this season (lost in Adelaide, Auckland and Melbourne debuts).

Bagnis had been called up for the duel against Colombia for the Qualifiers, which took place in March 2020, but he did not have to play.

"The desire had remained and I am with the illusion intact again. Representing Argentina is always the most beautiful thing. It was one of the things that always gave me strength, motivation and energy to keep pushing. For this reason, I enjoy these chances twice as much It is a very complicated series, but it is a nice challenge, which is very exciting," the man from Santa Fe told the

AAT

.

The doubles will be made up of

Andrés Molteni

, 36th in that specialty, and

Máximo González

, 45th, a couple with a long history on the circuit (with a 77 percent effectiveness rate, 25 wins in 33 games played together) and that, in October Last, he was crowned at the

ATP in Gijón

, on a hard indoor court.

Bagnis had been called up in 2021, but did not make his debut.

"I had the desire," he said.

AAT Press Photo

"We played a little with Andrés in 2022, but when we won that title, we agreed to compete together throughout this season," said the man from Tandil, who played one of his 12 "cup" series with Molteni. 

It was in the 2017 World Group playoffs, when they lost to Timur Khabibulin and Aleksandr Nedovyesov in Argentina's 3-2 loss to

Kazakhstan

in Astana.

It was the only match that Molteni has played in the tournament.


Ruusuvuori, the great threat

On the other side of the net, there will be rivals who are very used to playing on indoor hard courts and who become strong at home, led by

Emil Ruusuvuori

, only 23 years old, but with more experience in Davis than all the Argentine team together.

Ruusuvuori has more experience in Davis than the entire Argentine team combined.

Photo Finnish Tennis Federation

The man born in Helsinki made his debut in this competition in 2017, in a duel against Georgia as a visitor, for the first round of World Group II, which Finland lost 3-2. Since then, he has played 17 matches, 14 in singles and three in doubles, with a 9-5 record in singles and 2-1 in tag team duels.

Among the three albiceleste rackets that have already debuted in the competition, they only have played 15 matches.

The two from Cerúndolo, last year in Bologna, the only one that Molteni played, against Kazakhstan in 2017, and twelve from González, all in doubles, with a record of six celebrations and the same number of falls.

Ruusuvuori comes from living the best season of his short career, in which he played his first ATP final (in Pune) and reached his best ranking (40th place).

And although so far this year, he has barely won one of the four games he played (to reach the second round in Australia), the Argentines know not to trust each other.

"Ruusuvuori is growing a lot", analyzed Cachín, one of the rookies of the Argentine team.

AAT photo

"He is a player who is growing a lot, he has a very good pace with the ball and a great level on fast courts," Cachín analyzed.

The other strong point of the local is

Harri Heliovaara

, 10th in the world in doubles, owner of four titles -and finalist six other times, all in 2022- and champion this year in Adelaide.

"He is a great specialist in doubles. He returns very well, plays fast from below, perhaps his weakest point is that he is a bit irregular with the serve. In the middle of last year he began to do very well and was able to get into the top 10. I don't know who he will play with, but it will be a difficult point," González said.

"The doubles is going to be a complicated point," anticipated González, who will play his 13th series.

AAT photo

The team led by

Jarkko Nieminen

is completed by

Otto Virtanen

, 181st in the world and winner of the Bergamo Challenger last year, on a field similar to the one in the series;

and

Patrik Niklas

and

Eero Vasa

, 129th and 348th in doubles, respectively. 

"Argentina has a lot of quality among its players and the level is going to be very high. Our goal is to take advantage of playing at home," said Ruusuvuori.


The surface, the last great challenge

As Argentina, seeded 11th, and Finland had met only once in the history of Davis Cup and that duel was prior to 1970 (in 1960, in Helsinki, with a 5-0 victory for the Albicelestes), the venue was decided in a raffle.

And luck favored the Europeans, who will have the advantage of playing at home and on a hard indoor surface, where they feel too comfortable.

Those led by Coria had to make a quick double adaptation.

First, to the Finnish cold, after spending the start of the season in the Australian summer.

In Espoo, temperatures are expected between -1 and -11 degrees for the two days of the series, with a chance of snow on Sunday.

"Although we are inside, the cold is felt and that means that the ball is not faster, it is a ball that gets big and slow and that is why it does not come out of the racket as much. You have to pay a bit of attention to that" Bagnis analyzed. 

Second, to a court that they were only able to see on Thursday, despite having arrived in the Scandinavian country earlier in the week.

It is that the

Espoo Metro Arena

hosted a recital on Tuesday, so the Argentines had to train between Monday and Wednesday at the

Tali Tennis Center

in

Helsinki

, half an hour from the headquarters complex.

Finally, the official court did not turn out to be as fast as expected.

"It is a surface that the boys are used to on the circuit. The speed is normal, neither too fast nor slow, so we are satisfied, the boys are on good timing and that leaves us calm," Coria said.

Molteni analyzed: "The speed is similar to that of the ATP tournaments on the indoor tour."

AAT photo

Molteni agreed: "The speed is similar to that of the ATP tournaments on the indoor tour. At the other club the court was a little faster, here it has quite good speed. The surface is rough and the ball itself is big , then it opens up a bit. We're going to have to hit it hard and adjust something with the tension of the strings". 

The Argentine team wants to take a victory to qualify, as they did last year, in the group stage of the Finals, which will be held from September 12 to 17 in four venues to be confirmed.

And from there, reach the Malaga playoffs again, scheduled for the penultimate week of November.

It will not be an easy task against a tough rival like Ruusuvuori's Finland and on a surface that is far from being the favorite of the Albicelestes.

But Coria and her players are excited.


The series schedule

  • Emil Ruusuvori vs.

    Pedro Cachín

    (Saturday at 12)

  • Otto Virtánen vs.

    Francisco Cerúndolo

    (below)

  • Harri Haliovaara/Emil Ruusuvuori vs.

    Máximo González/Andrés Molteni

    (Sunday at 8)

  • Ruusuvuori vs.

    Cerundolo

    (below)

  • Virtanen vs.

    Cachín

    (below)

look also

Play drummer and fan: Emil Ruusuvuori, Finland's ace in the hole in the Davis Cup, who discovered tennis by chance

The Davis Cup, the story of a tournament that was glorious until Piqué arrived and turned it into a Twingo

Source: clarin

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