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Clay awaits USA in Davis Cup semis

Russia's surface of choice is clay for this week's Davis Cup tie with the United States. Bonnie DeSimone writes that clay isn't ideal for the Americans, but it isn't Russia's favorite surface, either.

Updated: September 18, 2006, 5:29 PM ET
By Bonnie DeSimone | Special to ESPN.com

If the Cold War were still being waged, you could read political symbolism into Russia's choice of indoor clay as the surface for this weekend's Davis Cup semifinals. In 2006, however, what the red stuff represents is a straightforward strategic gamble, a bet that it favors the home team over the visiting United States.

"The Russians are obviously extremely tough, and doing well here, as well," U.S. captain Patrick McEnroe said after naming his team -- a somewhat anticlimactic act, since the ...

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