Moya beats Roddick, Spain wins Cup

Stephen Wade and Stephen Wade

Spain won the Davis Cup title yesterday, taking an insurmountable lead against the United States when Carlos Moya beat Andy Roddick 6-2,

7-6 (1), 7-6 (5), the American star’s second loss in the final.

Moya’s decisive victory put the home country ahead 3-1 in the best-of-five series. The victory came before a sellout crowd of 27,200 that included Prince Felipe, heir to the Spanish throne.

“The Davis Cup is my dream,” Moya said. “I can’t ask for more. There is nothing bigger than what I’ve lived today.”

Mardy Fish of the United States beat Tommy Robredo 7-6 (8), 6-2 in an inconsequential fifth match, leaving Spain with a 3-2 decision. This was Spain’s second Davis Cup championship; the Americans were shooting for their 32nd title but first since 1995.

Moya took the match when Roddick netted a backhand off the Spaniard’s serve. Moya dropped to his back on the red clay, and Prince Felipe leaped from his chair with a two- fisted salute. Moya raced over and reached up to shake the Prince’s hand and the hand of his wife, Princess Letizia.

Roddick needed to win both his singles matches in this round for the Americans to have a chance. Instead, the No. 2 player in the world dropped both, losing in four sets Friday to 18-year-old Rafael Nadal. The United States won Saturday’s doubles behind twins Mike and Bob Bryan.

“The bottom line is they were just better than us this weekend,” Roddick said. “They came out, took care of business and they beat us. It’s a simple as that.”

Only one team has come back from trailing 2-0 in the Davis Cup final — Australia in 1939 against the Americans.

Spain won its first Davis Cup four years ago in Barcelona over Australia. The win over the United States was Spain’s 12th straight at home in Davis Cup play.

“This has been incredible — the moment I’ve been waiting for,” said Moya, who missed Spain’s first title in 2000 because of injury. “I’ve prepared myself for this day. I knew that playing on clay I would have my chances to win.”

Moya, who had lost three times before to Roddick — it was their first match on clay — played the match of his life. His steady groundstrokes kept Roddick back, and he frequently mixed in a deft drop shot. When Roddick tried to come in, Moya lobbed shots over his head or passed him.

“Charlie played a great game,” Spanish captain Jordi Arrese said, using Moya’s nickname. “It was his opportunity and he hasn’t let us down. He had lost three times to Roddick, and this was his day to beat him.”

On the slow surface in Olympic Stadium, Roddick hit 12 aces and Moya had seven. But Roddick double-faulted six times to Moya’s four in the 2-hour, 30-minute match.

Roddick was treated after the match for a slight injury to his right groin, picked up early in the second set when he slipped at the baseline.

“It’s just tough because I felt like I was in it the whole time against one of the top three clay-courters in the world,” Roddick said. “I had my chances and just didn’t convert them.”

Moya breezed through the first set in 36 minutes, breaking Roddick’s powerful serve on his first two service games.

In the second set, Roddick broke Moya to lead 3-1. But the Spaniard broke right back, thanks to two double-faults by Roddick. Roddick had another break point in the eighth game but failed to convert.

In the tiebreaker, Roddick double-faulted as Moya pulled ahead 4-1. The Spaniard went up 5-1 when Roddick leaped high as another winning lob sailed over his head. Moya closed the tiebreaker when Roddick netted a backhand, ending the 59-minute set.

In the third set, Moya had a match point in the 10th game when Roddick double-faulted, but the American redeemed himself with an ace and took the game to make it 5-5. In the tiebreaker, Moya raced ahead 6-3, but Roddick took the next two points before Moya closed him out.