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US basks in Davis Cup glory, wrap up 4-1 win over Russia

  • 03.12.2007
The United States, still in a euphoric haze from clinching their 32nd Davis Cup crown, finished off a 4-1 victory over Russia Sunday in the 2007 World Group final.
James Blake claimed his second match of the tie when he rounded out the final score with a 1-6, 6-3, 7-5 win over Tursunov.
Fans at the 12,000-seater Memorial Coliseum, who maintained their enthusiasm throughout Sunday's meaningless singles, cheered Blake's service break in the 11th game of the final set, then rose to their feet as he gave himself a match point with an ace for 40-0 in the next game.
When Tursunov hit a forehand wide, a smiling Blake raised his arms and jogged to the sidelines, where he was embraced by US captain Patrick McEnroe.
The celebration was subdued compared to the joyful outburst that erupted Saturday, when Bob and Mike Bryan swept past Igor Andreev and Nikolay Davydenko 7-6 (7/4), 6-4, 6-2 in doubls to secure the trophy.
That followed singles victories by US No. 1 Andy Roddick and Blake on Friday, when Roddick downed Dmitry Tursunov 6-4, 6-4, 6-2 and Blake gutted out a 6-3, 7-6 (7/4), 6-7 (3/7), 7-6 (7/3) victory over Mikhail Youzhny.
Andreev earned Russia's lone point, with a 6-3, 7-6 (7/4) win over Bob Bryan in the first reverse singles match.
The triumph was the first for the Americans since 1995, and the first since McEnroe took over the captaincy in 2001.
Roddick made his Davis Cup debut the same year, and had missed just one tie since. Blake, too, has been a McEnroe mainstay, and the Bryan brothers came on board in 2003.
The long association made for an emotional victory and rowdy celebrations on Saturday night.
"We had a blast celebrating," said Bob Bryan.
The doubles specialist said he wasn't surprised to get the call to step in for Roddick in the first dead rubber, especially after the US celebrations lasted into the early hours of Sunday morning.
"I left around 1:00 because I knew I was probably going to be on the card today," Bryan said. "Some guys probably went a little deeper."
Bryan said Saturday's party moved from the Coliseum to the players' hotel to a local club for dancing.
"Andy's pretty good," he said. "He's got Jackson Five moves down. He was dancing. I was dancing. Mike was dancing. It was a full dance floor. A lot of people were out of their mind last night."
Bryan admitted he found it hard to come back and play a meaningless match.
"I think dead rubbers are the worst thing in sports," he said. "Imagine (Michael) Jordan coming back after winning an NBA title and having to play a pick-up game with the guys that he just beat. It's ugly."
Bryan said he thought the International Tennis Federation should loosen the rules to let players other than those formally nominated at the draw to play in dead matches.
That would have given Donald Young, who was with the US team as a practice partner, a chance to play.
"They should make it a rule where if a player is top 100 in the world he should be eligible to play, or a top-five ranked junior. I think there's a lot of opportunity to give some guys some good experience in front of a big crowd like that."
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© 2007 AFP (Agence France-Presse)

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