Spain and Argentina one win from Davis Cup final
Spain and Argentina capitalised on the clay courts of Madrid and Buenos Aires to each move within a win of the Davis Cup final.
Spain, two-time winners, opened up a 2-0 lead over defending champions USA with world No.1 Rafael Nadal outgunning Davis Cup debutant Sam Querrey 6-7(5) 6-4 6-3 6-4 in front of 22,000 at the Las Ventas bullring. David Ferrer then ground out a 7-6(5) 2-6 1-6 6-4 8-6 win over Andy Roddick.
“I’m very happy,” said Nadal afterwards. “I came here short on energy and strength after a long season and Sam was playing very well.”
Roddick, always second favourite on the clay in Spain against Ferrer, said: “I thought I played pretty well. The level from both players was high, especially in the fourth and fifth set.”
In Buenos Aires, David Nalbandian eased past Igor Andreev 7-6(5) 6-2 6-4 to give Argentina the lead over Russia, before Juan Martin del Potro made it 24 wins in his last 25 matches with an impressive display against Nikolay Davydenko, seeing off the world No.6 6-1 6-4 6-2.
Should Argentina beat Russia, they will play at home in December’s final as they bid for a first Davis Cup title after twice finishing runners-up.
In the play-offs, where the winners will be guaranteed places in the 2009 World Group, US Open finalist Andy Murray pulled Great Britain level 1-1 with Austria at the All England Club, Wimbledon.
The Scot made quick work of Alexander Peya, winning 6-1 6-4 6-3 to cancel out Jurgen Melzer’s 3-6 7-6(3) 6-2 6-1 victory over Alex Bogdanovic, who had lead by a set and a break at one stage.
In Lausanne, Switzerland are 2-0 to the good against Belgium, though not without having to come through a fight. Stanislas Wawrinka took four hours to see off Steve Darcis 6-7(3) 6-1 6-3 2-6 6-4 before Roger Federer eased past Kristof Vliegen 7-6(1) 6-4 6-2.
Australia, who have won the Davis Cup 28 times, trail Chile 2-0 on the clay courts of Antofagasta after former Olympic champion Nicolas Massu beat Chris Guccione 7-6(4) 7-6(5) 3-6 7-6(2).
The Aussies, missing Lleyton Hewitt, then saw world No.177 Peter Luczak
falle to Fernando Gonzalez 6-2 6-2 6-3.
In Bratislava, Novak Djokovic gave Serbia the lead over Slovakia with a 6-2 6-4 6-3 over Dominik Hrbaty before Janko Tipsarevic made it 2-0 with another four-hour victory over Lukas Lacko 6-7(3) 4-6 6-4 7-6(5) 8-6.
Mario Ancic gave 2005 champions Croatia a perfect start against Brazil in Zadar, seeing off Thomaz Bellucci 6-2 7-6(4) 7-6(3) before Ivo Karlovic beat Thiago Alves 7-6(5) 7-6(3) 7-5.
In Bucharest, India slipped 2-0 behind to Romania. Victor Crivoi put the hosts ahead, beating Prakash Amritraj 7-5 5-7 6-2 6-2, before Victor Hanescu sent Somdev Devvarman packing 6-3 6-1 6-0.
The Netherlands and South Korea are level at 1-1 after Jess Huta Galung beat Im Kyu-Tae 6-3 6-3 5-7 6-2 after Lee Hyung-Taik’s 6-4 6-3 6-3 win against Thiemo De Bakker.
Israel and Peru were also level at 1-1. Luis Horna gave the South Americans the lead with a 7-5 5-7 7-6(3) 6-3 win over Harel Levy, before Dudi Sela saw off Ivan Miranda 6-2 6-1 3-6 6-4.
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