AUSTIN -- There was no room for error for the United States Davis Cup team Sunday, and Mardy Fish wasn't able to take advantage of numerous opportunities to put the hopes of the U.S. in Andy Roddick's hands.
Eighth-ranked Fish converted only 4 of 18 break-point opportunities against No. 6-ranked David Ferrer and Spain won its first Davis Cup match in the U.S. with a 7-5, 7-6 (3), 5-7, 7-6 (5) win at the Frank Erwin Center.
At 4 hours, 11 minutes, it was the longest four-set match in U.S. Davis Cup history since the tiebreaker was added in 1981.
By winning the best-of-five series 3-1, Spain advances to the World Group semifinals against France, while the U.S., under captain Jim Courier, will have to wait until next year.
"I had a lot of chances out there," Fish said. "[I] take advantage of some of those break points, not even all of them, and I could win that match in straight sets."
The loss meant Roddick didn't get a chance to be the hometown hero. His match against Feliciano Lopez was canceled after Spain clinched.
"That was the goal," Fish said of trying to force a fifth and deciding match for Roddick. "That's the hardest part for me, knowing how much he wanted to be here in Austin. And to not deliver and let him take that last match in front of his home fans ... That's the hardest part."
To Fish's credit, he tried. He never gave up, even after dropping the first two sets.
Motivated by a capacity crowd, Fish picked up a break late in the third set to force a fourth. And in the fourth set, he overcame a pair of service breaks to force a tiebreaker. But for the second time in the match, Fish wasn't able to win the tiebreaker. The U.S. team went 1-4 in tiebreakers in the four matches over the weekend.
"The crowd was incredible," Fish said. "I had so much fun all weekend playing. I badly wanted to get to the point where we could get Andy out there and it just didn't work out. ... Obviously, I'll look back and remember the crowd and the week, it was the loudest Davis Cup I've ever been a part of. I'll certainly remember that."
Fish got off to a good start early in the first set and was up a break and serving for the first set at 5-3. But Ferrer got the break after a Fish double fault at 30-40. Then Fish sprayed a forehand wide to give Ferrer the break. The Spaniard consolidated the break, then broke Fish a second time to win the set.
Fish also had his chances in the second set, including four break points in the seventh game, but he couldn't convert. Fish also came back from 15-40 hole to hold serve at 5-5 and eventually force a tiebreaker. But Fish fell behind early and Ferrer took a two-set lead.
"We ask really one thing from our guys, and it's to leave it on the court," Courier said. "We succeed from the at standpoint. We didn't succeed in the wins department out there overall, but I'm very proud of all the guys for the effort they gave all week long."
The last U.S. Davis Cup loss on home soil came six years ago against Croatia. The U.S. hasn't come back from a 2-0 deficit since 1934.