Russia remain in contention
Originally published on: 26/02/10 12:02
The Russian pairing of Dmitry Tursunov and Igor Kunitsyn had seen a two-set lead wiped out by Argentinian opponents Guillermo Canas and David Nalbandian, but recovered to claim a 6-2 6-1 6-7 (9/11) 3-6 8-6 success in just over three and a half hours on court.
The win means Argentina now hold a 2-1 lead in the tie heading into the final two singles rubbers on Sunday.
Nalbandian and Canas struggled to gel in the opening set allowing the Russian duo to open up a 4-2 lead before claiming the first set.
Three successive breaks in the second set then saw Tursunov and Kunitsyn wrap up the set in just 24 minutes.
Things looked ominous for Argentina when they let slip a 4-2 lead in the third set, but a tie-break was eventually needed to settle things.
And luck began to favour the South Americans, who held off three match points before finally sealing a marathon tie-break 11-9.
That gave Canas and Nalbandian the lift they needed and they also took the fourth with their Russian opponents looking rattled by the comeback.
But the Tursunov/Kunitsyn partnership showed their mettle in the decisive set, fighting back from 3-1 down to keep Russia in the semi-final.
Nalbandian is scheduled to face Nikolay Davydenko in the fourth rubber on Sunday while Juan Martin Del Porto will meet Igor Andreev in the fifth match if needed, with either Spain or the United States awaiting the winners in the final.