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Blake loss evens U.S.-Sweden Davis Cup semifinals match

9/21/2007 - Tennis

GOTHENBURG, Sweden -- Andy Roddick came through on a day James Blake picked a bad time to end two winning streaks.



Roddick beat Joachim Johansson 7-6 (4), 7-6 (3), 6-3, but Thomas Johansson defeated Blake 6-4, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 Friday, leaving the
United States and Sweden tied 1-1 after opening singles of their
Davis Cup semifinal.


Blake lost for the first time in three matches against Johansson and for the first time in 10 matches in Sweden.


At the semifinal in Moscow, Germany pulled even with defending champion Russia after Philipp Kohlschreiber upset Nikolay Davydenko 6-7 (5), 6-2, 6-2, 4-6, 7-5. Igor Andreev defeated Tommy Haas 6-2, 6-2, 6-2 in the first singles match on indoor clay.


The winner of the best-of-five semifinal series will play in the final in November. Should the United States and Russia advance, the
U.S. would host the final for the first time since 1992.


Roddick lost only five points on serve in the first two sets,
and 12 total in the match.


"I served pretty good with a lot of aces," Roddick said. "My percentage was high and I stayed out of trouble. The biggest, most
important stat was that I didn't lose a point [on serve] in either
of the tiebreaks. If you do that, you're not going to lose."


Thomas Johansson broke Blake's serve on his second break point to lead 3-1 in the fourth set. That was all he needed, holding his serve the rest of the way.


In Saturday's doubles, U.S. Open champion Simon Aspelin will team with veteran Jonas Bjorkman against top-ranked Bob and Mike Bryan. The reverse singles in the best-of-five series are Sunday.


With participation in next year's World Group on the line, Roger Federer made a winning 2007 Davis Cup debut for Switzerland at the Czech Republic, who tied 1-1.


The top-ranked Federer defeated Radek Stepanek 6-3, 6-2, 6-7 (4), 7-6 (5), and Czech Tomas Berdych defeated Stanislas Wawrinka 7-6 (2), 6-4, 7-5 in the second singles match.


Playing at Wimbledon one last time before retirement, Tim Henman swept Roko Karanusic in straight sets to give Britain a 2-0 lead
over Croatia in a Davis Cup World Group playoff on grass.


In what may have been the final singles match of his 14-year career, Henman beat Karanusic 6-4, 6-3, 6-3 on Court 1 to put
Britain within one point of clinching the best-of-five series.


Andy Murray defeated Marin Cilic 3-6, 6-4, 6-1, 4-6, 6-3.


Henman faced Karanusic after Ivan Ljubicic pulled out because of an infection.


In Belgrade, Serbia, Lleyton Hewitt rallied to defeat Janko
Tipsarevic 6-2, 3-6, 4-6, 6-1, 6-1 to lift Australia to a 1-1 tie
with Serbia in group playoffs.


Serbia's Novak Djokovic beat Peter Luczak 6-1, 6-4, 6-2.


Djokovic, who reached the U.S. Open final, broke Luczak twice and lost only two points on his serve in the first set on indoor
clay court at the Belgrade Arena.


In the other playoffs, it was: Austria with a 2-0 lead against
Brazil 0; Israel 2-1 against Chile 1; Japan and Romania tied 1-1;
Slovakia and South Korea tied 1-1; and Peru leading Belarus 1-0.


Roddick finished with 30 aces on the fast indoor carpet at the Scandinavium arena. Johansson, who has one of the hardest serves in the game, had 23 aces.


"Joachim played very, very aggressive," Roddick said. "I had a little bit of an advantage in the tiebreaks having played more
matches."


Johansson, who has been struggling to overcome a shoulder injury, had not played a competitive match since he lasted only two games in the opening round of the Australian Open in January.


The Americans lead the series with Sweden 8-3. The most recent meeting was a U.S. victory in the 2004 quarterfinals en route to
its 60th final.


The United States has won the most Davis Cup titles (31), but the last came in 1995. Sweden has won the cup seven times.