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Spain through after tough test

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

Spain, without the injured Rafael Nadal, clinched a 3-2 win over their European rivals as Juan Carlos Ferrero defeated Andreas Beck 6-4 6-4 6-4 in the deciding rubber.

Germany, trailing 2-1 overnight, levelled the tie earlier as Philipp Kohlschreiber beat Fernando Verdasco 6-4 6-2 1-6 2-6 8-6 in a thrilling match at the Puerto Banus bullring. Kohlschreiber’s efforts in defeating the world number nine were in vain, however, as former world number one Ferrero eased to victory against Beck as Spain set up a semi-final encounter with Israel, who wrapped up a 4-1 win against Russia in Tel Aviv.

Having booked a first ever appearance in the final four by easing to an unassailable 3-0 lead yesterday, Israel had to share the honours in the reverse singles today as Igor Andreev restored some pride for Russia with victory over Dudi Sela, who retired injured when trailing 3-4 in the first set.

Harel Levy ensured Israel ended on a high note, however, taking his second singles win of the weekend as he defeated Igor Kunitsyn 6-4 4-6 7-6 (7/2).

Croatia marched into the last four after taking an unassailable 3-1 lead over the United States. With the US trailing 2-1 after Saturday’s rubbers, all eyes were on James Blake to level the tie for the Davis Cup’s most successful nation, but he failed to rise to the challenge of Croatian number one Marin Cilic, who posted a hard-fought 6-3 6-3 4-6 6-2 win to settle the tie.

In Ostrava, Radek Stepanek played through the pain barrier to claim a priceless win over Juan Monaco and guide the Czech Republic into a semi-final clash with the Croats at the expense of last year’s beaten finalists Argentina.

With the Czechs resuming 2-1 ahead overnight, world number five Juan Martin del Potro levelled the tie with a 6-4 6-4 6-4 win over Tomas Berdych to take it to a decider.

Stepanek, battling a knee problem, was rarely in trouble in the fifth and final rubber against Monaco, taking the first set on a tie-break before easing away to a 7-6 (7/5) 6-3 6-2 triumph which ensured the Czechs’ first final-four appearance since 1996.

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