* Ferrer rallies to see off Querrey
* Almagro outlasts Isner in thriller
(Updates after second singles)
GIJON, Spain, Sept 14 Holders Spain are within a
point of reaching a fourth Davis Cup final in five years after
David Ferrer and Nicolas Almagro secured contrasting singles
victories over Americans Sam Querrey and John Isner on Friday.
Ferrer recovered from a first-set wobble to score an
ultimately comfortable 4-6 6-2 6-2 6-4 win against Querrey on
the clay in Gijon before Almagro dug deep to see off a tiring
Isner 6-4 4-6 6-4 3-6 7-5 in the semi-finals.
The towering Isner, who appeared to be suffering from cramp
towards the end of a thrilling match, several times needed his
powerful serve to stay in contention and saved three match
points earlier in the deciding set before capitulating.
Almagro collapsed to the ground when an Isner forehand flew
long on the fourth match point before climbing to his feet and
kissing his racket as the raucous crowd celebrated around the
purpose-built outdoor arena in the northern Spanish city.
It was 12th-ranked Almagro's second win in two matches
against number 10 Isner following his four-set victory on the
grass at Wimbledon last year.
World number five Ferrer only had a few days to prepare for
the best-of-five tie following his run to the semi-finals of the
U.S. Open but he ultimately proved too strong on his favoured
surface against the 26th-ranked Querrey.
Ferrer is leading the Spanish bid for a place in November's
final in the absence of the injured Rafa Nadal and his victory
was his 15th in 15 Davis Cup singles rubbers on clay and his
20th in 24 matches overall.
"It was a very tough match. He didn't make it easy for me,"
Ferrer told Spanish television.
"I managed to stay focused mentally and the important thing
is the victory."
Top-ranked American pair Bob and Mike Bryan are firm
favourites to take Saturday's doubles point when they meet
Marcel Granollers and Marc Lopez, with the two reverse singles
to come on Sunday.
Spain are bidding for a fourth Davis Cup crown in five years
while the U.S., without the recently-retired Andy Roddick, have
not won the competition since 2007.
The winners meet Argentina, who lost to Spain in last year's
final, or Czech Republic.
Juan Martin Del Potro gave Argentina a 1-0 lead in Buenos
Aires when he thumped Radek Stepanek 6-4 6-4 6-2 on Friday.
(Writing by Iain Rogers in Madrid editing by Mark Meadows)