The big American bull was no match for the Spanish matador.
David Ferrer dispatched Andy Roddick in straight sets 7-6 (11), 7-5, 6-3 on Friday night, giving Spain a 2-0 lead over the United States after the first two singles matches of their Davis Cup quarter-final.
The Americans were counting on Roddick, playing in front of his hometown fans, to rally the U.S. after Spain's Feliciano Lopez upset Mardy Fish in the opening match 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, 6-7 (7), 8-6.
Roddick started fast in the first and second sets before losing both. He meekly surrendered the third, double-faulting on the final two points and drawing a groan for the red-white-and-blue, flag-waving crowd.
"I think I tried to win entire match in the third set," said Roddick, who is 33-12 in his Davis Cup career.
"Any Davis Cup loss is tough because it's not just your loss," Roddick said. "If I lose at Wimbledon, it's on me. It's tough. I don't beat myself up over that, but when I let down my team, it hurts more. This loss hurts more than my selfish losses."
Spain is seeking its third Davis Cup championship in four years, but is without world No. 2 Rafael Nadal, who is skipping the quarter-final after losing in the Wimbledon final. Nadal helped Spain win the Davis Cup in 2004, 2008 and 2009.
Ferrer is a Davis Cup veteran and wasn't intimidated by the crowd or playing Roddick, whose big serve and powerful groundstrokes seemed perfect for the hard and fast acrylic surface installed at the Frank Erwin Center at the University of Texas.
Roddick led 4-2 in the first set before Ferrer rallied to win the tiebreaker 11-9. Roddick was up 3-0 again in the second set before letting it slip away.
"To beat Andy in three sets is very difficult. It was tough," Ferrer said. "We had good results today. We know it's not finished."
While Spain probably would have been happy with a single point, winning two was a huge boost. The American doubles team of Bob and Mike Bryan will be heavily favoured over Lopez and Fernando Verdasco on Saturday.
"We knew they're favored, playing at home," Lopez said. "Winning the first point is very important. More important for us than for them."
Lopez set the tone for Spain by matching the intensity of the pro-American crowd in the first match, a tense, four-hour slugfest. Ranked No. 31 in the world, Lopez puffed out his chest, wagged his finger at balls that sailed out of bounds and yelled and pumped his fists after winning shots. A small but vocal contingent of Spanish fans cheered him on.
Roddick was supposed to put the Americans on his broad shoulders and deliver a win.
Ferrer deftly parried Roddick's big serves and beat him with precision that left Roddick chasing shots and slumped in frustration.
"It's my game," Ferrer said. "I don't have serves like Andy. To beat Andy I need to return really good all the time."
Roddick is scheduled to meet Lopez in singles on Sunday. Roddick is 7-1 against Lopez, but the loss came just two weeks ago at Wimbledon.
"We're not out of this," Roddick said. "This is far from over."
In other quarter-finals, defending champion Serbia took a 2-0 lead over visiting Sweden when Viktor Troicki won his opening singles and Sweden's Ervin Eleskovic retired with a knee injury in the second; France led host Germany 2-0 on victories by Gael Monfils and Richard Gasquet; Argentina held an unbeatable 3-0 lead over Kazakhstan with a home victory by doubles partners Juan Ignacio Chela and Eduardo Schwank.
In a playoff in Switzerland, Roger Federer beat Portugal's Rui Machado 5-7, 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 to put the Swiss in front 2-0. Federer was playing his first match since losing in the Wimbledon quarter-finals. The winning nation advances to a playoff in September to join the 16-nation world group.