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Roddick leading U.S. into Davis Cup final vs. Russia

11/26/2007 - Tennis

LONDON -- Andy Roddick will lead the United States against
defending champion Russia in the Davis Cup final.

The sixth-ranked Roddick, who has never won a Davis Cup title,
was selected along with No. 13 James Blake and the top-ranked
doubles pair of Bob and Mike Bryan. The best-of-five series will be
played Nov. 30-Dec. 2 on the indoor hard courts of the Memorial
Coliseum in Portland, Ore.

The Russian team, which won its second Davis Cup title last
year, will be led by No. 4 Nikolay Davydenko, Igor Andreev, Dmitry
Tursunov and Mikhail Youzhny, the International Tennis Federation
announced Tuesday.

"It's pretty tough because we play in America," Davydenko said
recently. "We know we have less chance to win."

Marat Safin, a two-time Grand Slam champion, had been a
candidate to claim one of Russia's four spots but was left off the
team.

Safin is 29-18 in the Davis Cup, and he won the decisive point
in Russia's 3-2 win over Argentina in the final in Moscow last
year.

Both Davis Cup teams include the same players from the
semifinals, when the United States beat Sweden 4-1 and Russia
defeated Germany 3-2.

The United States has won a record 31 Davis Cup titles, but none
since 1995, when Pete Sampras led the team to victory over Russia
on clay in Moscow.

In last year's semifinals, Tursunov put Russia into the final
against Argentina by beating Roddick 6-3, 6-4, 5-7, 3-6, 17-15 in
reverse singles in the deciding match.

Davydenko, meanwhile, has been at the center of a tennis
match-fixing investigation. In August, the Russian withdrew from a
match in Poland in the third set against 87th-ranked Martin
Vassallo Arguello. An online betting site, in an unprecedented
move, then voided bets on the match because of suspicious betting
patterns.

The ATP is investigating the incident, and Davydenko has denied
involvement.

Since then, Davydenko has twice been accused of not trying his
best by chair umpires, first in St. Petersburg, Russia, and then
earlier this month at the Paris Masters.

Davydenko was originally fined $2,000 by the ATP for "lack of
best effort" for the 1-6, 7-5, 6-1 loss to Marin Cilic in October
at the St. Petersburg Open, but the penalty was dropped during the
Masters Cup in Shanghai, China.