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Last Updated: Friday, 8 February 2008, 17:17 GMT
Argentina take charge against GB
By Piers Newbery

David Nalbandian
Nalbandian has never lost a Davis Cup rubber on clay
Argentina v Great Britain
Date: 8-10 Feb (Saturday, 1400 GMT)
Venue: Parque Roca, Buenos Aires
Coverage: Live on BBCi, BBC TWO and BBC Sport website (UK users only)

Great Britain made a predictably poor start to their Davis Cup World Group tie in Argentina with defeats in the opening two singles rubbers.

With Andy Murray absent through injury, the Buenos Aires clash on clay was always going to be a daunting task.

And so it proved as David Nalbandian hammered Jamie Baker 6-1 6-3 6-3 in the opening match in one hour 42 minutes.

Agustin Calleri then defeated Alex Bogdanovic 6-3 6-1 6-1 to give Argentina a 2-0 lead after day one.

I loved the feeling on the court

Jamie Baker

Jamie Murray and Ross Hutchins are scheduled to play Nalbandian and Jose Acasuso in the doubles on Saturday, before the reverse singles fixtures on Sunday complete the best-of-five tie.

Great Britain captain John Lloyd was determined to look forward after they first day's play and conceded the best chance of a point could come in the doubles.

"All the players in this team will improve after this so long as they take this performance to the good and not dwell negatively," said Lloyd.

"I think once Andy withdrew our best chance to win a rubber was the doubles, but Argentina are heavy favourites.

"(Jamie and Ross) have looked pretty good in practice though and I still give us a shot in that match."

The first-round encounter is taking place at the 15,000-capacity Parque Roca in Buenos Aires, although the stadium was barely half full as the first match got under way.

606: DEBATE
Cricketing_stargazer

And when world number nine Nalbandian broke in the second game of the match it was clear he had too much class for a man ranked 226 places below him.

That the 21-year-old Scot was out of his depth against one of the world's very best was no surprise and he looked nervous from the outset.

Nalbandian broke at the first opportunity with a lunging backhand volley and a forehand winner and Baker managed just 13 points as the first set raced away.

Lloyd did his best to urge his man on at the changeovers but Baker was simply too far behind the baseline to make any impression on Nalbandian's game.

Things improved marginally for the Briton in the second set as he converted his fourth break point in game eight, but he was already two breaks down by then and the set was gone.

It was a similar story in the third as Baker recovered an early break and kept on terms until Nalbandian moved 5-3 ahead, and then served out for victory.

"I wanted to win quickly and it wasn't the greatest match on my part," said the Argentine, "but we are starting off the best way possible."

I wasn't expected to win and I must move on from this and learn

Alex Bogdanovich

Baker added: "In the second and third set I was level, I think I did pretty well. I loved the feeling on the court. I thought the crowd were very fair. For me the louder the better no matter for who."

World number 41 Calleri was clearly the best chance of a singles scalp but British number two Bogdanovic, ranked 188, could not stay with the Argentine in heavy, damp conditions.

Like Baker before him, he battled away after dropping his opening service game before his Argentine opponent stepped up a gear at the key moment.

Calleri broke serve again in game eight and served out the first set before quickly moving two breaks clear in the second.

The heavier hitting of Calleri was simply too much for Bogdanovic and Argentina's second point of the day was wrapped up in one hour 49 minutes.

"I played a solid first set and it was pretty close but after that he started to hit the balls heavier and put me under pressure," said Bogdanovic.

"I tried my best out there and enjoyed the occasion. I wasn't expected to win and I must move on from this and learn. Hopefully I can do that on Sunday."

SEE ALSO
Davis Cup photos
07 Feb 08 |  Tennis
Murray commits to next GB match
07 Feb 08 |  Tennis
Murray to miss GB Davis Cup tie
30 Jan 08 |  Tennis


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