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Rediff.com  » Sports » All Davis Cup ties still alive after doubles

All Davis Cup ties still alive after doubles

February 11, 2007 10:54 IST

All the Davis Cup World Group first-round ties are still alive heading into the final day's singles after the underdogs largely prevailed in some lengthy doubles clashes on Saturday.

Romania remain in the hunt after Florin Mergea and Horia Tecau beat France's Michael Llodra and Arnaud Clement 3-6, 7-5, 7-5, 6-7 11-9 in four hours 35 minutes to cut the deficit to 2-1.

Chile also hit back to trail 2-1 against champions Russia with Fernando Gonzalez and Nicolas Massu, both defeated in Friday's singles rubbers, beating Marat Safin and Igor Andreev 7-6, 6-3, 6-4.

Earlier, world number 18 Lleyton Hewitt found his form after losing on Friday as he partnered Paul Hanley to ease past Belgium's Olivier Rochus and Kristof Vliegen 6-2, 6-4, 6-2 to put Australia back in the tie at 2-1 down.

Austria and Belarus kept their hopes alive after halving their 2-0 deficits against Argentina and Sweden respectively.

Belarus duo Max Mirnyi and Vladimir Voltchkov dispatched Jonas Bjorkman and Simon Aspelin 7-5, 4-6, 7-5, 6-3 at Minsk's indoor soccer arena while Austria's Jurgen Melzer and Julian Knowle beat Jose Acasuso and Sebastian Prieto 6-3, 6-7, 6-1, 7-5.

"The pressure was on us but we were the better team and proved it. We had the more dangerous shots, the better running game and won deservedly," said Melzer, who will play in the deciding singles in Linz on Sunday.

"I can beat Acasuso tomorrow, but it will be tough. He showed that he can also play good tennis on this surface."

EPIC ENCOUNTER

In matches that were level going into the doubles, Fernando Verdasco and Feliciano Lopez beat Switzerland's Marco Chiudinelli and Yves Allegro in another epic encounter to hand Spain a 2-1 lead after a 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-1, 12-10 victory.

The battle of Geneva lasted four hours 48 minutes and the depleted Swiss face a daunting task on Sunday with reserve Stephane Bohli tackling world number 33 Verdasco in the opening singles.

The 23-year-old Bohli, ranked 278th in the world, was drafted in when Stanislas Wawrinka tore knee ligaments in training on Thursday.

The hosts are also without the absent Roger Federer although the Spanish are missing Rafael Nadal, with the world number two taking no part in the tie after pulling out with a thigh muscle injury shortly before Friday's opening rubber.

Michael Kohlmann and Alexander Waske earlier ended the perfect Davis Cup doubles record of Croatian pair Mario Ancic and Ivan Ljubicic to give Germany a 2-1 lead over the 2005 champions thanks to a 6-4, 6-2, 7-6 win.

Ljubicic and Ancic had won all six of their previous Davis Cup doubles matches together but they could not cope with the German specialists, who were surprisingly dominant at home.

In contrast Bob and Mike Bryan, fresh from the successful defence of their Australian Open doubles title, swept past Czechs Pavel Vizner and Lukas Dlouhy in straight sets to nudge the United States ahead.

The slow clay surface at Ostrava's packed 7,000-seat CEZ Arena failed to halt the Bryans as they secured a 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 victory on a second match point.

An exhausted Visner rued the Czech pair's missed chances.

"We did what we could, we left our soul out there," he said. "They are playing very aggressive tennis. If we broke them once or twice, the match would have taken a different course."

The home team had thought about playing Tomas Berdych in the doubles but decided to let him rest ahead of Sunday's first singles match against Andy Roddick.

Source:
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