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Israel in new territory

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Originally published on: 26/02/10 12:40

Starting the day leading 2-0, Jonathan Erlich and Andy Ram took to the court to face former world number one Marat Safin and Igor Kunitsyn – the current world number 35.

The hosts won the first two sets 6-3 6-4 and appeared on course for a regulation win as they served for the match in the third. However, the Russians won the next two 7-6 (7/3) 6-4 to force a decider which Israel held their nerve to win after breaking their opponents’ serve in the final game of the match.

It represents Russia’s earliest exit from the competition since 1994 and means Israel will face either Spain or Germany.

Victory by the Bryan brothers saw the United States reduce the deficit in their clash with Croatia in Porec.

Trailing 2-0, the American pair produced a devastating display to crush Roko Karanusic and Lovro Zovko 6-3 6-1 6-3.

Marin Cilic will face James Blake on Sunday, and the American will have to improve on his performance from Friday against Ivo Karlovic when he blew a two-set lead.

Depending on the outcome of that match, a deciding rubber could be played between Karlovic and Mardy Fish.

The Czech Republic are one win away from reaching the last four for the first time since 1996, after victory in the doubles gave them a 2-1 lead over Argentina.

Tomas Berdych and Radek Stepanek combined to claim a commanding 6-1 6-4 6-3 win in Ostrava.

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