9/14/12 8:04 PM | Cheryl Murray
Nicolas Almagro withstood a valiant effort from American John Isner to give Spain the second rubber in Friday's semifinal tie.
After failing to convert on three match points, Spain's Nicolas Almagro closed out an epic 6-4, 4-6, 6-4, 3-6, 7-5 over big-serving John Isner.
This match had plenty of drama, but the quality of the tennis wasn't top-notch. In fact, except for his serve, Isner played dismal clay-court tennis in the first two sets. He was able to win the second set simply because Almagro helped him out by donating a horrendous service game of his own to give Isner the only break of the set.
Isner made up some ground in the fourth set. He fought hard and capitalized on a let-down of the Almagro serve. He continued to dig his way out of trouble with his first serve, a testament to his fighting spirit.
Isner continued to put in the effort in the fifth. Almagro earned three match points with Isner serving at 4-5, but the American fought them off. He wasn't as fortunate in the 12th game of the set, in which Almagro finally got the break to take the rubber.
Spain goes into Saturday's doubles showdown up 2-0, a lead they needed as Bob and Mike Bryan will be prohibitive favorites over Marc Lopez and Marcel Granollers.
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