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U.S. tops Russia for first Davis Cup title since 1995

12/1/2007 - Tennis

PORTLAND, Ore. -- The United States won its first Davis Cup
title since 1995 behind a convincing doubles victory Saturday by
brothers Bob and Mike Bryan.

The Bryans cruised to a 7-6 (4), 6-4, 6-2 victory over Russia's
Nikolay Davydenko and Igor Andreev on the indoor hard court at
Portland's Memorial Coliseum as the U.S. won the first three
matches in the best-of-five final.

The once-dominant United States had not won the Davis Cup in 12
years, the longest span without an American victory. Pete Sampras
last led the team to victory over Russia on clay in Moscow.

The United States now has 32 titles in the international team
competition, dating to 1900.

Andy Roddick and James Blake got the U.S. off to a fast start
Friday, winning the first two singles matches. The U.S. had not
taken the first three matches of a Davis Cup final since 1990
against Australia.

With Roddick and Blake looking on, both doubles teams held serve
through the first set, forcing the tiebreaker. When the United
States took a 5-3 lead, Andreev slammed his racket to the court.

Andreev double-faulted on the twins' second set point, and the
top-ranked duo celebrated with their familiar chest bump.

Andreev and Davydenko had only been partnered once before as a
doubles team in Davis Cup play, and often conferred over strategy.
Davydenko, who came to the Davis Cup mired in an investigation into
unusual betting patterns during a match in August, had played a
doubles match only twice before this year.

When Bob Bryan's winning forehand at the net bounced over the
heads of the Russians, Roddick and Blake poured onto the court and
piled into a group embrace. The crowd chanted "U-S-A! U-S-A!'

The four players then ran a victory lap around the court with an
American flag.

"No words can explain how we feel right now, except
Woooooooo!" Mike Bryan exclaimed.

On Friday, sixth-ranked Roddick beat Dmitry Tursunov 6-4, 6-4,
6-2 in the opening match and 13th-ranked Blake outlasted Mikhail
Youzhny 6-3, 7-6 (4), 6-7 (3), 7-6 (3).

No. 34 Tursunov is the lowest-ranked member of the Russian team,
following fourth-ranked Davydenko, No. 19 Youzhny and No. 33
Andreev.

The best-of-five final was a culmination of a year's worth of
international competition. Sunday's reverse singles will be
shortened to best-of-three sets because the U.S. has already
clinched the title.

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 last hosted the Davis Cup final in 1992, in
Fort Worth, Texas. Andre Agassi, Jim Courier, Pete Sampras and John
McEnroe defeated Switzerland.

Hours before Saturday's match, members of the Russian team
played an impromptu soccer game on the court, using folding chairs
as goals, and appeared loose.

Some were surprised when Russia's captain Shamil Tarpischev left
fourth-ranked Davydenko out of the singles matches -- setting up the
first match between Roddick and Tursunov.

Tarpischev had until an hour before Saturday's match to change
his doubles team, but he left it alone.

"They're just much better doubles players," Andreev said
afterward about the Bryans.

Davydenko is at the center of an investigation into betting
patterns during a loss to Martin Vassallo Arguello of Argentina in
August.

Betfair, an online gambling company, voided all bets on the
match after unusually large amounts were wagered on the lowly
ranked Argentine throughout the contest in Poland, even after he
lost the first set 6-1. Davydenko retired with an injury in the
third set.

Davydenko denies the allegations.

Memorial Coliseum, which seats about 12,800, had hosted two
previous Davis Cup events, in 1981 and 1984, both U.S. semifinal
victories over Australia.