Juan Carlos Ferrero of Spain celebrates with his teammates after their Davis Cup semifinal victory over the US at the Parque Hermanos Castro in Gijon, northern Spain, Sunday. — Reuters
GIJON, Spain — David Ferrer proved that Spain’s Davis Cup dominance wasn’t just down to Rafael Nadal when he clinched its place in the final with victory over the United States.
Ferrer beat John Isner 6-7 (3), 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 Sunday to give the five-time champion an insurmountable 3-1 lead and a shot at a fourth title in five seasons.
Spain will face the Czech Republic in the final, after the Czechs beat Argentina away.
Helped by Isner’s wayward shot-making, Ferrer rallied from a set down to stay unbeaten on clay in the competition with his 16th straight win.
Ferrer and Nadal had both said they would scale back Davis Cup availability after helping win last year’s final against Argentina. While Nadal has since been limited by injury, Ferrer decided to return.
“This is the competition in which I have felt the most emotions in. I’m a team player,” said Ferrer, who has played a part in each of Spain’s last three titles.
“I don’t know how much longer my career will last so I want to do my best possible in the Davis Cup. (Spain captain) Alex Corretja motivated me to play this season.”
Corretja marked his first season in charge in place of Albert Costa by extending Spain’s dominance with a sixth title since 2000 from its ninth appearance.
“It’s been a wonderful year and now we want to go for more, of course,” Corretja said.
“(Ferrer’s) a guy who never gives up, he’s a gladiator and he knows the way he needs to play on clay, the way he needs to move and hit the ball.”
Spain stretched its record home winning streak to 24 straight ties, and it hasn’t lost on clay for 26 series. Its last clay loss was in 1999.
And, just like in 2008, it did it without Nadal.
“Spain is the high water mark in the Davis Cup in the last 15 years, we always knew it was going to be close,” US captain Jim Courier said.
“They have great individual players, great depth and great passion for Davis Cup. It’s not rocket science, you have great ingredients and you have to blend them together and they do a great job.”
The Czech Republic will host Spain in the Nov. 16-18 final, which will be played after the ATP Finals in London.
Spain swept the Czechs 5-0 in Barcelona in the 2009 final.
Tomas Berdych defeated Carlos Berlocq in three sets to put the Czechs into final.
Berdych had few problems with Berlocq, winning 6-3, 6-3, 6-4 to give the Czechs an insurmountable 3-1 lead in the semifinal. Berlocq filled in for Juan Martin del Potro, who missed the decisive reverse singles with a left-wrist injury.
The Czechs return to the final for the second time in four seasons.
Del Potro, the former US Open champion, defeated Radek Stepanek Friday but was ruled out for Sunday by the
Argentina team doctor who said the match made his injury worse. Del Potro has a history of wrist injuries.
Argentina was trying to reach its fifth Davis Cup final. It has lost all four, including last year against Spain.
There wasn’t enough firepower with del Potro absent and David Nalbandian — the team leader for several years — sidelined with an abdominal injury.
Unseeded Belgian Kirsten Flipkens surprised third-seeded German Mona Barthel 7-6 (8-6), 7-6 (7-3) Saturday to set up a clash with Lucie Hradecka in the WTA Bell Challenge final at Quebec City.
Both finalists will be chasing a first career WTA title.
Flipkens, who toppled top-seeded Dominika Cibulkova in the first round for her third career win over a top-20 player, is in her first WTA final at the age of 26.
Eighth-seeded Czech Hradecka beat French teenager Kristina Mladenovic 7-5, 7-6 (7-5) on the indoor carpet at PEPS Laval University.
She’ll be trying to break through for a WTA crown after coming up empty in four previous finals appearances.
“I was quite young in my first one in Bad Gastein, and I lost a close match, but I told myself not to worry, that I could win my second one,” Hradecka said. — Agencies