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Rediff News  All News  » Sports » Blake, Roddick give US 2-0 lead v France

Blake, Roddick give US 2-0 lead v France

April 12, 2008 08:34 IST

James Blake fought off two match-points to beat Paul-Henri Mathieu 7-6, 6-7, 6-3, 3-6, 7-5 and lifted the United StatesĀ to a 2-0 lead over France in their Davis Cup quarter-finalĀ on Friday.

Earlier in the day, Andy Roddick gave the US a 1-0 lead in a close 6-4, 7-6, 7-6 victory over Michael Llodra at the Lawrence Joel Memorial Coliseum.

Blake fought off the match points in the three-hour, 48 minute marathon when Mathieu was serving at 5-4 in the fifth set.

The American then took advantage of his second match point opportunity in the 12th game on a netted forehand to give the hosts a comfortable lead heading into Saturday's doubles.

"I got down 5-4, but I never wanted to feel out of it," Blake told reporters. "He was serving very well, but funny things can happen when you're serving for a match, especially in Davis Cup.

"I did my best to make sure he knew he wasn't going to get a free game out of it, he was going to have to earn it."

Mathieu was disappointed he had not levelled the tie.

"We played for like four hours and I don't think we had differences today," said Mathieu.

"I don't think he played any better than me."

The US will be looking to close out the tie on Saturday when Bob and Mike Bryan play Arnaud Clement and Llodra in the doubles.


Roddick has overtaken Arthur Ashe in the US all-time rankings to stand in third place with 28 Davis Cup singles wins behind Andre Agassi (30) and John McEnroe (41).

Roddick has also now played 37 Davis Cup singles rubbers which takes him past Andre Agassi into second spot behind McEnroe who holds the U.S. record of 49.

Roddick captured the opening set on his second break point of the ninth game with a scorching crosscourt forehand winner. It was the only break in a match lasting just over two hours.

The second set went to a tiebreak and from 3-3 Roddick took charge to win the final four points and secure the set.

Llodra finally got his first break points in the 11th game of the third set but Roddick fired down another two aces -- he had 30 in the match against 25 for Llodra -- and held serve.

The American world number six clinched victory on his second match point in the third set tiebreak.

"If you'd told me going into the match to make a prediction I probably would have said that we'd serve huge, there wouldn't be a lot of breaks and it's going to come down to a couple of points here and there and I like my chances there because I've been through it before," Roddick told reporters.

"He's probably the best player they have on this kind of surface."

"I thought he played well and I had to play really good stuff today to get through."

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