(Reuters) - Brazil’s Thomaz Bellucci beat Spain’s Roberto Bautista Agut in four sets on Sunday to give Brazil a 3-1 Davis Cup victory that relegated the Spaniards from the World Group for the first time since 1996.
It was also Spain’s first defeat on clay since Brazil beat them 15 years ago, when Gustavo Kuerten got the win that secured victory over Spain’s current captain Carlos Moya.
Moya, who did not have world number three Rafa Nadal or number seven David Ferrer available for the tie, lamented Sunday’s defeat and vowed they would not spend long in the second tier.
“I think it is not a place where Spain belongs,” Moya said of the five-times champions’ relegation from the top tier.
“There have been some circumstances this year that made the Spanish team be in the second division. I am sure that in two years Spain is going to be back in the World Group.”
Bellucci, ranked 83 in the world, was Brazil’s top performer, winning both his matches, which included a 6-4 3-6 6-3 6-2 victory over 15th-ranked Agut in three hours in Sao Paulo on Sunday.
Cheered on by a passionate Brazilian crowd, Bellucci hit 61 winners against a shell-shocked Agut and said he had never played better.
”I think it is my greatest win,“ he said. ”For me it was a big challenge to play at home against Spain.
“I played my best tennis today to get this point which was very important for the team.”
”During the match I think Bautista Agut wasn’t feeling so well. He was missing a lot.
“I think he was feeling the pressure of playing against a big Brazilian crowd. I think I managed it a little bit better than him and that was the key in the match.”
Editing by Greg Stutchbury