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BUENOS AIRES -- Argentine tennis will face its biggest challenge this weekend as it tries to end a curse that has lasted almost a century. Being the sports dominant force, one that has churned out several top-10 players and Grand Slam winners, hasnt been enough. Argentinas most coveted win has yet to come; its one that requires a collective effort, the Davis Cup in Croatia.Only 14 countries have lifted the trophy since it was first played in 1900. In 93 years of competition, Argentine tennis has the dubious distinction as being the country with the most appearances in a final (four) with no titles.It is the biggest thorn in the side of Argentine sports, especially with its failure to deliver made worse by its lack of team spirit.The story of the first lost final can actually be traced back to 1980, when Argentina let a semifinal rubber slip away in Buenos Aires against eventual champion Czechoslovakia, which was led by emerging Ivan Lendl. Argentina had two of the best players on clay at the time, Guillermo Vilas and Jose Luis Clerc. But they were on really bad terms with each other and also with the Argentine Tennis Association. The team lost focus, and a golden chance was missed.Despite their differences, Vilas and Clerc (who were not speaking to each other) teamed up again in 1981 and made it all the way to the final on a fast carpet in Cincinnati against the United States. John McEnroe was world No. 1 in singles and doubles (with Peter Fleming), while Roscoe Tanner, who at the time was one of the most powerful servers, played second singles for what looked like an almost unbeatable combination.On the middle Saturday, with the series evened at 1-1, Vilas and Clerc barely communicated during the crucial doubles encounter, to the dismay of captain Carlos Junquet. Yet they almost pulled off a miracle, leading 7-6 in the decisive fifth set and Vilas serving. But McEnroe and Fleming broke and finally took the match 11-9. The next day, McEnroe battled past Clerc in five sets to clinch the victory, 3-1.Twenty-five years later, in 2006, Argentina made another final, this time away against Russia. After a decade out of the World Group, the Argentine legion was at its best. David Nalbandian scored impressive victories against Marat Safin and Nikolay Davydenko, but it was not enough to prevent a 3-2 victory by the Russian team.Two years later, Argentina could have ended the jinx in what was its best chance -- a final at home against Spain, which was without Rafael Nadal. Fear of what Rafa and his teammates were capable of on clay -- and with internal quarrels between players and officials -- Argentina decided to forgo the traditional Buenos Aires slow surfaces for faster hard courts. The decision proved to be disastrous.The tie got off to a promising start, with Nalbandian thrashing David Ferrer for a 1-0 lead. But Juan Martin del Potro, suffered from a leg injury, fell to Feliciano Lopez. If Nalbandian and Delpo were already did not seeing eye to eye, things deteriorated even more when the former accused del Potro, fresh off an appearance in his first Masters Cup, of overplaying, thus resulting in his health ailments and jeopardizing Argentinas chances for individual glory and money.The next day, Nalbandian joined Calleri in trying to secure the doubles, but instead lost to Lopez and Fernando Verdasco. Nalbandian then stormed out of the stadium without going to his news conference. To make matters worse, Captain Alberto Mancini then confirmed del Potro would not be fit for Sunday.Nalbandian knew he would never have the chance to play a starring role and end the curse. He was frustrated, just like the thousands who had packed the stadium during the three days believing they would witnesses a whitewash -- but instead left in tears. There would be another opportunity in 2011, with Nalbandian and del Potro again leaving aside their differences on their way to a final against Spain in Seville. Nalbandian, this time teaming with Eduardo Schwank, would gain revenge in the doubles against Lopez and Verdasco, but Delpo, despite putting up a great performance, lost against two of the best clay players in the world, Ferrer and Nadal, who led Spain to the easy victory.Still, with so many chances squandered, there is reason for Argentina to be confident ahead of the clash in Zagreb this weekend. The team was never a favorite (even when del Potro came back healthy) but still managed to make its way to the final playing all its previous rounds on the road. Argentina has never lost a tie against Croatia.But in order to make the dream finally come true, Argentina will require more than its best tennis. If the squad has learned anything, some of the spirit it lacked at key moments in the past is there this season. That could make the difference. Jaromir Jagr Stanley Cup Jersey . The parade and rally were held to celebrate the Saskatchewan Roughriders 45-23 win over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats on Sunday in the CFLs championship game. T. J. Oshie Stanley Cup Jersey . Ashley Youngs cross was inadvertently headed by Chester into his own net in the 66th minute, allowing United to claim a third straight league win. "We had to dig deep with our fighting spirit and weve done that," United striker Wayne Rooney said. http://www.cheapcapitalsjerseys.us/matt-niskanen-stanley-cup-jersey/ .ca NFL Power Rankings, overtaking the Denver Broncos and remaining ahead of NFC competition San Francisco, Carolina and New Orleans. Alex Chiasson Stanley Cup Jersey . -- Sergey Tolchinksy scored his second goal of the game 3:56 into overtime as the Sault Ste. Lars Eller Stanley Cup Jersey . The showiest items on Calgarys lot were forwards Mike Cammalleri and Lee Stempniak. Both will be unrestricted free agents this summer. PHOENIX -- The Los Angeles Dodgers close out their seasons longest road trip, 10 games, Sunday against NL West rival Arizona.As always, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts will be mixing and matching, calculating who is healthy enough to play and who has the best chance to be effective. The Dodgers have placed 28 players on the disabled list this year, most in MLB history.How has he done it?Roberts fumbled for an answer Saturday. I think its just a matter of not trying to, uh, I dont know. Its a good question.Then, after thinking the matter through, he said, I think a lot of it is the players just understanding that there are certain circumstances were presented with and weve got to find a way to make it work.So I think its not ideal or traditional some of the things thats weve done. But weve had to make it work.Saturdays 6-2 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks was a great example.In addition to such high-profile youngsters as Corey Seager and Joc Pederson, Roberts started a pitcher, Brock Stewart, who began the season at Class A Rancho Cucamonga.Stewart proceeded to outpitch the D-backs Shelby Miller, giving the Dodgers five solid innings in his fifth MLB start.Then there was another rookie, Andrew Toles, who made a perfect throw from left field to home to save a run and choke off a Diamondbacks rally.A huge play, Roberts said.Next rookie up for the Dodgers is right-hander Jose De Leon (2-0), who will make just the third start of his major league career.dddddddddddd In 11 innings pitched for Los Angeles, he has given up six runs (five earned) on eight hits, including three home runs. He has 12 strikeouts and two walks in his first two starts.It will be the 65th game started by a rookie this year for the Dodgers.Roberts was asked to reflect back to spring training, and if he would have been scared to see some of these names in the lineup in a pennant chase.Probably so, he replied.There were some games where, you look at the lineups weve run out there in September, it kind of looks like a split-squad (spring training) game. But these are major league players playing on a playoff-contending team.You look at our roster and you project. This is not the way obviously we would have seen it playing out.Roberts praised the Dodgers scouts and player-development staff.The common factor with these young players is the pulse and the head. They dont scare off. Theyre really unshaken.The Diamondbacks will counter with Robbie Ray, who is 8-13 with a 4.55 ERA this season. He became one of just four pitchers in franchise history to record a 200-strikeout season when he beat the Rockies on Tuesday, allowing four runs over five innings with seven strikeouts.Ray is 3-3 in seven career starts against the Dodgers. Cheap Jerseys Store Discount NFL Jerseys Wholesale Authentic Jerseys Cheap Jerseys 2018 Wholesale Jerseys Free Shipping Cheap Nike NFL Jerseys Cheap Jerseys ' ' ' 


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playoff-contending team.You look at our roster and you proj
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playoff-contending team.You look at our roster and you proj
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