Israel outclassed in Davis Cup semi

By Danny Caro, September 20, 2009

Defending champions Spain outclassed Israel to reach their seventh Davis Cup final after claiming an unassailable 3-0 advantage to spare in Murcia.

With Israel lining up in its first-ever Davis Cup semi-final, and Spain in the last four for the fifth time in 10 years, the odds were stacked against the visitors continuing their fairytale run.

On Friday, David Ferrer comfortably defeated Harel Levy. The pair, who are separated by over 100 places in the men's rankings, were a mismatch, with the Spaniard dropping just eight games in a 6-1, 6-4, 6-3 win.

Dudi Sela, who until recently was seeded in the top 30, fared little better, going down to Juan Carlos Ferrero in straight sets.

Israel were hoping to come into their own in Saturday's doubles, with Andy Ram and Jonathan Erlich reunited for the first time in months, but the Spaniards sealed the match to complete their 17th consecutive Davis Cup match victory on home soil.

Feliciano Lopez and Tommy Robredo defeated the Israelis 7-6, 6-7, 6-4, 6-2.

In the third game of the fourth set, Erlich needed treatment on a painful shoulder as he faced break point. He and Ram saved it but were broken two points later as Spain took what proved to be the determining break of the fourth set. "That was the point that we lost the match," said Ram afterwards, “because it took a lot of energy from us and Jonathan couldn't serve his best, but it's tough to beat Spain on clay, even if we were healthy." In fact the hosts broke once more, as Israel finally ran out of steam and Spain won in three hours 46 minutes.

Reflecting Spain victory, Robredo said: "It was a question of taking our opportunities. The first two sets were very close, but then we played our best in the third and fourth sets."

"Everyone was saying that it was going to be easy, but you never know, we are in the semi-finals and Israel is a great team. I think we both played a great match and we are through to challenge in the final, which is great, and we are very happy.

Having run out 4-1 winners, Spain will host the Czech Republic, who defeated Croatia 3-0. in the Davis Cup final on December 4.

There was some good news for Israel in women's tennis when Shahar Peer, seeded five, reached the final of the WTA Guangzhou Championships in China.

Last updated: 11:22am, September 21 2009