MOSCOW -- For the U.S. Davis Cup team, it's one must-win
match down, two to go.
Andy Roddick and James Blake must win their singles matches
Sunday against Russia for the Americans to advance to the final
Bob and Mike Bryan kept U.S. hopes alive with a 6-3, 6-4, 6-2
win over Dmitry Tursunov and Mikhail Youzhny in Saturday's
semifinal. The win leaves the Americans trailing 2-1.
The winner will face Argentina, which beat Australia 3-0, in the
final in December.
Russia enters Sunday's matches playing at home, on a surface
that has brought grumbles from Roddick, and with a choice of
opponent against him.
According to the draw, Roddick is to play Youzhny in the opening
match. But Russian coach Shamil Tarpishchev has clay-court
specialist Nikolay Davydenko as an option.
Youzhny said he'd be happy to play, but Roddick said Friday that
he expects to face Davydenko.
"To be honest, I wouldn't be surprised either way," said U.S.
captain Patrick McEnroe. "Andy is very familiar with both players.
It's really a matter of Andy just coming out and playing his game,
trying to stay composed, relaxed -- but intense."
On Friday, Safin beat Roddick 6-4, 6-3, 7-6 (5) and Youzhny beat
Blake 7-5, 1-6, 6-1, 7-5, putting the U.S. squad down 2-0. The last
time the U.S. rallied from a 2-0 Davis Cup deficit was in 1934
Chasing the United States' first Davis Cup title since 1995, the
Bryan brothers broke for a 5-3 lead in the first set and went on to
win in 90 minutes on the clay court at Olympic Stadium.
"Andy and James kept coming up to us and saying, 'Give us a
chance, give us another shot, let us redeem ourselves.' And that's
kind of what we went into the match thinking all the time," Bob
With Youzhny serving at 3-all in the second set, the Wimbledon
and Australian Open doubles champions rallied from 30-0 down to
break, and Bob Bryan fired two aces three games later to put the
Americans further ahead.
They quickly took the lead in the third set, capitalizing on
three unforced errors from Tursunov to break the Russians' serve in
the opening game. Four straight errors from Tursunov handed the
Americans another break in the seventh game and Mike Bryan closed
out the match with an ace.
"When we were up two sets to love and a break, we stepped on
the pedal a little harder, instead of just cruising out the
match," Bob Bryan said.
The top-ranked Bryan brothers have lost just once in 10 Davis
Cup matches. For Youzhny and Tursunov, it was their second loss in
the two Davis Cup matches they have played together.
"The [American] guys played well, and when they're pressing you
so hard, it's tough. They served perfectly," Tursunov said.
Russia, which has not lost at home in 10 years, needs to win one
of the matches Sunday to secure its first berth in the Davis Cup
final since its only title against France in 2002.
The Americans have come back from a 2-1 deficit five times --
twice in 2000, when Andre Agassi and Chris Woodruff won their
reverse singles in the first round against Zimbabwe, and Pete
Sampras clinched against the Czech Republic in the next round after
Agassi made it 2-all.
In 1981, Roscoe Tanner and John McEnroe won the reverse singles
in straight sets against Mexico. The other two U.S. comebacks were
in 1961 and 1902.
The semifinal is being played at the same venue where Sampras
won all three of his matches on clay in 1995 to help the United
States capture its 31st Davis Cup title. Russia, which has never
beaten the United States, is unbeaten at home since losing that
In the other Davis Cup semifinal, Jose Acasuso upset Lleyton
Hewitt in a rain-delayed singles match and host Argentina won its
doubles match to reach its first Davis Cup final in 25 years.
In the World Group playoffs, host Austria won a place in the
Davis Cup World Group next season by gaining a 3-0 lead over
Roger Federer and Yves Allegro gave host Switzerland a 2-1 lead
over Serbia with a 7-6 (3), 6-4, 6-4 victory over Nenad Zimonjic
and Ilia Bozoljac.
Rafael Nadal and Fernando Verdasco beat Italy's Daniele
Bracciali and Giorgio Galimberti in doubles 6-2, 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (4)
to lift host Spain to a 2-1 lead.
Olivier Rochus and Kristof Vliegen extended Belgium's lead to
2-1 over host Slovakia.
Tied 1-1, the doubles match between host Romania and South Korea
was postponed Saturday because of rain.