Argentina suffered a major blow during his visit to Espoo for the Qualifiers of the Davis Cup 2023. With a couple of important losses and in a series more complicated than the standings and attendances of its protagonists, the team led by Guillermo Coria lost 3-1 against the Finland From Emil Ruusuvuoriwho at the age of 23 was the cornerstone of his country’s first qualification for the Finals.
The albiceleste team, which must play in September for stayhad no answer against a tough rival, who made the most of the locality, and it matched the worst hitting streak in its history in the oldest competition in world tennis.
The defeat against the Scandinavians was the fourth in a row for the blue-and-whites, who had lost the three series played in the group stage of the Finals against Sweden, Italy AND Croatialast September in Bologna.
Only once in its nearly 100-year history in Davis had Argentina held that negative record. It was between May 1967 and March 1970, when, with a different format than the current one, they lost against Ecuador, Venezuela and Chile (twice), in duels in the South American zone.
The failure against the Finns has made it clear that the reconstruction process that began after the historic conquest of 2016 is still ongoing. Although young faces have appeared in recent years (and others already known, but without experience in this tournament), the new rackets have yet to be broken in.
This was reflected in the results. After that unforgettable title, Argentina dropped to Group I in 2017, returned to top level the following year, played the first edition of the Invitational Finals in 2019; he was close to relegation again in 2021 and has never made the top eight again.
That reality makes the team’s future present more doubts than certainties. Coinciding with those of the tournament itself, which we still don’t know how it will continue after this year’s Finals. Even if the defeat at the weekend left something positive: the feeling that, beyond the difficult moment, there is unity within the group and also the desire to continue working.
“It becomes difficult when we have to lose and we are sad. But I underline the attitude and commitment of the guys. They’ve come here, they’ve put their face up, they’ve lived up to and they’ve accepted all the things that come their way. But we find ourselves with players of the highest level, who have been able to exploit the opportunities when they had them. Finland played better and is a decent winner“, Coria analyzed after the defeat.
The series against Ruusuvuori and company has been uphill since the beginning. On the surface: a fast field – although, finally, not as fast as expected – indoors, of which there are many in the Nordic country and few in Argentina. For the date: in the middle of the freezing Finnish winter, right between the Australian summer tour and the South American brick dust tour, an almost obligatory stop for the Argentines. And for various weight loss: diego schwartzmann AND Horace Zeballos they decided not to play it (understandable, if you take the previous point into account), just like Sebastian Baezwho preferred to continue working to regain his confidence and his best tennis, after a weak end to 2022.
Coria put together a team he had Francis Cerundolo as first singles player (arrived in Finland with 0-2 record in Davis), Pedro Cachin AND Facundo Bagnis -both rookies, but in good personal moments- as alternatives for the second individual point, since then Andrew Molteni AND Massimo Gonzalezwith a lot of experience together, as a couple for the double.
Before the start of matchesthe five together had less experience in Davis than in Ruusuvuori: 15 games played between the Argentines, against 17 for the local star.
Only Cerúndolo (31st) has won a match in Espoo: Saturday, against Otto Virtanen, 181st, with a lot of work, for the partial 1-1. Cachín (68th) had lost the first point to Ruusuvuori (43rd), responsible for his country’s three victories. That of Helsinki, paired with Harri Eliovaaratenth in the world in doubles, this Sunday he beat González and Molteni, to then seal the series and the passage to the Finals against Bagnis (88th).
“I knew I had to play well above my level to have a chance. In the first set I was close. Too bad I couldn’t keep up in the second and he never showed weakness, especially physically,” complained the 32-year-old from Santa Fe, who replaced Cerúndolo at the last moment, with an overload in his right hamstring from Saturday’s match.
“It was known to be a complicated series. The taste is now bitter. But we said it in the locker room: we don’t have much to reproach ourselves for. Not only for what the team worked on, but also for the unity and atmosphere that existed. When you looked outside, in the bank, everyone worked as hard as you to play games,” added Bagnis.
Cerúndolo’s victory was only the third in that streak of four neat series in a row. The others were joined by Zeballos and González in the doubles against Sweden and Italy, duels that were played to the best of three points (unlike Finland’s, which went to five) and which had the full squad.
Argentina has accumulated in those four crossings a record of three celebrations and ten fallsreflecting brand the irregularity of an inexperienced teamwho suffers a lot when, due to injury or for other reasons, he loses one of his great figures, as happened on this occasion with the small AND Onion.
Coria and his boys – those who were at Espoo and those who weren’t there, because as the captain often repeats, the team is much more than those who take the field in the series – will have several months to make self-criticism and try to rearm face to face for the duel they will play in September for world group I, in a venue and against a rival to be confirmed.
And beyond the shock that meant defeat to Finland, the squad has talented and top-class players to look forward to. And, above all, the will and desire to face that challenge.
“Let’s start with our heads held high. Since we’ve been here, we’ve faced all the situations that have come our way, training well and making the most of every minute,” analyzed the captain, who has only won one series out of five games since taking over the bench team vs Czech Republic for the Qualifiers of 2022, in the BALTC.
And he closed: “The boys are serene because, each in their role, they did their best to make things go well. But this is tennis. We lost against a very solid team that made the most of the game at home . Now we will fight to win in September“.
Argentina will try within seven months a win to stay at Davis’ top level. It will be a World Group I duel to be played in September.
In that case, he could cross one of the eleven teams that, like the one led by Coria, lost duels this weekend Qualifiers and the winners of the Group I playoffs.
In the first group I am Austria (lost 3-1 against Croatia), Hungary (3 to 2 with France), Uzbekistan (4-0 with USA), Germany (3 to 2 with Switzerland), Colombia (3 to 1 with Great Britain), Norway (4-0 with Serbia), kazakhstan (3 to 1 with Chile), Belgium (3 to 2 with South Korea), Bosnia Herzegovina (3 to 1 with Sweden), Slovakia (4-0 with the Netherlands) e Portugal (3-1 with the Czech Republic).
In a second, Japan (beat Poland 4-0), Greece (3 to 1 for Ecuador), Brazil (4 to 0 in China), Denmark (3 to 2 in India), Romania (from 3 to 2 in Thailand), Israel (from 3 to 2 to Latvia), Peru (4-0 for Ireland), Taipei (3 to 0 in Mexico), Ukraine (3 to 1 in Lebanon), Turkey (4 to 0 for Slovenia), Lithuania (4-0 to Pakistan) e Bulgaria (3 to 1 in New Zealand).
The crossings and locations will be defined by drawing lots this Thursday. The seeds will be chosen based on the world rankings, in which the Argentine team is 15th.
A victory in that case will lead the albicelesti to replay the Qualifiers next year. A loss would send them to the Group I playoffs. It all depends on what happens with Davis from 2024, which is still unknown.
Jason Root is the go-to source for sports coverage at News Rebeat. With a passion for athletics and an in-depth knowledge of the latest sports trends, Jason provides comprehensive and engaging analysis of the world of sports.