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Rediff.com  » Sports » Spain reach Davis Cup semis

Spain reach Davis Cup semis

April 13, 2008 12:15 IST

Fernando Verdasco and Feliciano Lopez displayed nerves of steel to win a marathon doubles match on Saturday and propel Spain into the Davis Cup semi-finals.

They battled for almost five hours before grinding out a 6-7, 7-6, 6-4, 2-6, 12-10 win over Philipp Kohlschreiber and Philipp Petzschner, giving Spain an unbeatable 3-0 lead over Germany in Bremen.

The twice former champions are now eager to meet holders the United States and avenge last year's 4-1 quarter-final defeat.

"We'd rather face the US as we'd be at home," Spain captain Emilio Sanchez told reporters. "It would be great to have another go at them after losing over there last year."

The Americans lead their tie against France 2-1 in Winston-Salem and, despite going down in the doubles, will be favourites to seal their passage into the last four.

Top-ranked Mike and Bob Bryan missed out on a chance to become the most successful American doubles pairing when they lost 6-7, 7-5, 6-3, 6-4 to Arnaud Clement and Michael Llodra.

They had shared a 14-1 win-loss Davis Cup record with John McEnroe and Peter Fleming but must now wait before securing a 15th win.

Argentina and Russia moved a step closer to meeting in the other semi-final after both nations won their doubles clashes to take a 2-1 lead into Sunday's reverse singles.

David Nalbandian and Guillermo Canas made the most of the raucous Buenos Aires atmosphere to beat Sweden's Jonas Bjorkman and Robert Linstedt 7-5, 6-4, 6-4 in an ill-tempered match.

Visiting teams have often complained about the crowd's overzealous behaviour in Argentina and on Saturday it was the Swedes who found the Estadio Parque Roca an inhospitable place.

Tempers frayed in the second set when Sweden captain Mats Wilander, amid jeering and whistling, complained to the umpire that Nalbandian was using time-wasting tactics to disrupt his team's rhythm.

"I think they got a bit unnerved," Nalbandian told reporters. "I wanted to make the public happy by winning, so we played every point as if it was the last."

Canas said the atmosphere was comparable to a soccer match.

"It was somewhat like football because representing Argentina is something unique, something which you feel in your skin," he said.

In Moscow, the Czechs found Russia to be perfect hosts and were given a roaring welcome when they stepped on court but the generosity in spirit stopped there.

World number four Nikolay Davydenko teamed up with Igor Andreev to outsmart Czech duo Pavel Vizner and Radek Stepanek 3-6, 6-3, 7-5, 6-4.

Russia captain Shamil Tarpishchev had left Davydenko out of Friday's singles after the player flew in late to Moscow following his triumph in Miami last weekend.

Feeling fresh after enjoying a rest day, Davydenko proved his doubles game could be as lethal as his singles and he took great pleasure in stifling the Czech challenge.

"Igor and I play well together. After the first set we were able to relax, we had fun playing and we weren't nervous," Davydenko told reporters.

Andreev added: "If I was to judge our play today I would give us five and them four minus." 

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