eight men, five rubbers, one weekend…

Bulging biceps, tag teams, marathon sessions, tattoos, bears, Eastern Europeans, Brazilians…

Yes, my friends, it must be Davis Cup!

World Group 2008 – Semifinal
Argentina v Russia, 3 – 2
Tarpischev’s doubles trick couldn’t shake off del Potro.

Spain v USA, 4 – 1
America’s rich Davis Cup history gets blown to bits when a tie is contested on clay. Against Spain.

World Group, Play-offs 2008
Chile v Australia, 3 – 2
Gonzo distracted the Aussies with his chest.

Great Britain v Austria, 2-3
For British newbie Bogdanovic, playing in front of the home crowd at AELTC caused some performance anxiety against Peya.

Switzerland v Belgium, 4 – 1
The dream team of R-Fed and S-Waw cleaned up.

Croatia v Brazil, 4 – 1
Save for a clutch doubles match by Melo and Sa, Croatia takes all the matches.

Israel v Peru, 4 – 1
Harel Levy, Andy Ram, Noam Okun, and the Smurf-esque Dudi Sela all did the home crowd proud.

Netherlands v South Korea, 3 – 2
Hyung-Taik Lee swept his singles matches, but it wasn’t enough.

Romania v India, 4 – 1
As expected, Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi win their doubles match.

Slovak Republic v Serbia, 1 – 4
Novak Djokovic kept his clothes on.

jurgen melzer's necklaces

Austrian Jurgen Melzer throws his hat into the ring with this pair of necklaces at this week’s BA-CA Tennis Trophy in Vienna. He went up against countryman Alexander Peya in the first round, and came out with a 6-4, 6-3 win.

Other participants include top seed Novak Djokovic, who took out Gineps 6-3, 6-4; and JC Ferrero, who beat fifth seed Guillermo Canas 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (5). (Wow. Canas’ year sure fizzled out after starting the year with two wins over Roger Federer in March.)

Melzer has also been sporting the same Incredible Hulk-esque, tight-fitting Power Web Crew Neck adidas shirt worn by Argentinian Juan Monaco earlier this summer. See the photo after the cut

tuesday night treats at the countrywide classic

From the frontlines: Well, far behind the baselines, really. I was at UCLA tonight watching James Blake brush off his rusty game to beat Alexander Peya in two sets. Turns out that was just a warm-up for the upset of top seed Fernando Gonzalez by hometown fave Zack Fleishman. This is the former Bruin’s best scalp in five years of playing the Tour’s UCLA stop. He was blasting his forehands just as well as Gonzo. I hope Fernando’s okay… it looked like he was having some right arm trouble.

Sex selling sex: there were some delicious fellas hawking tickets for the upcoming ULTIMATE TENNIS CELEBRATION!!!! EastWest Bank Classic in Carson. They’ve got a decent promo, too: $20 gets you two tickets to an early round match PLUS an “I (heart) SHARAPOVA” or “I (heart) SERENA” shirt. (Guess which shirt I picked.)

Favabean sighting?: I think I saw TSF reader in the stands behind me. Section 16, Chris — was that you?

Others I saw: Amer Delic after winning his doubles match, Paul Goldstein after winning his singles match, Robert Kendrick battling Wesley Whitehouse in the Grandstand Court, and Serena Williams sitting five seats over from Kevin Garnett, both watching Blake.