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USA In Davis Cup Final: Roddick Serves It Up Big!

Monday, September 24, 2007

For the ninth time at the ninth time of asking, Andy Roddick saw the United States Davis Cup by BNP Paribas team into the next round – and this time the next round is the Final, and a home shot at the defending champions, Russia.

Roddick wasn’t quite at his best against Jonas Bjorkman, a late replacement for the originally nominated Thomas Johansson who was suffering from stomach problems, but he used all attributes of his game to beat the Swede 62 76(3) 64 and see off the Americans’ jinx at the Scandinavium.

The arena, scene of three previous US Davis Cup debacles, seemed to have given up hope of staging a fourth home upset, the rows of red seats much less full than they had been on Friday and Saturday when home hopes were high.

Roddick Maintains Davis Cup Record

One of the reasons for the absence of home hope on the final day was that Roddick’s reputation as a Davis Cup competitor precedes him. He has never lost when playing to see his country win the decisive point, and his devotion to tennis’s premier team competition was evident when he said afterwards: “If I don’t win another match between now and the final but we win the final, I’ll take that.”

“This is my No. 1 priority for the rest of the year, and I’ll be discussing my tournament schedule with Jimmy [Connors, his coach] and Patrick [McEnroe, his team captain] to make sure I look after my body and it’s right where it needs to be for the final.”

Only once was Roddick truly threatened, and that came in the fifth game of the second set. Bjorkman, at 35 still a very useful returner of serve, finally got a good connection on three of Roddick’s serves and earned himself two break points. In doing so, he caused Roddick to stumble and fall, so the American asked for the court to be wiped dry. The couple of minutes this took didn’t please either Bjorkman or the crowd, and Roddick was booed as he stepped up to serve at 15-40. Bad move!

Americans Celebrate Semifinal Victory

The booing merely geed up Roddick, he duly delivered four unreturnable serves, and the danger was over. Once Bjorkman had taken six points to get going in the tiebreak, and Roddick had broken in the fourth game of the third set, the match was over as a contest, and Roddick won in just over two hours. He sank to his knees on the carpet court that had been so much more preferable to the Americans than the clay the Russians chose for last year’s semifinal in Moscow.“It’s what you practise for,” said Roddick in an on-court interview. “It’s what you work for. I’m so proud to be part of this team, I’m so proud of my teammates, I wouldn’t trade this team for any in the world. I love these guys, and we get another shot at winning the Davis Cup, so I’m really happy right now.”The victory was a triumph for positive thinking among the Americans. Their jinx at the Scandinavium seemed to have reared its ugly head on Friday when all four players woke up with flu-like symptoms. But they came through, and ultimately with something to spare, as the Swedes were also struggling with their health.

First final in USA since 1992

Aside from Thomas Johansson’s temperature, Joachim Johansson was so sore after his three-setter against Roddick on Friday that he was replaced for the final singles by Simon Aspelin who had never played a tour-level singles match before. He got four games against James Blake, the American’s 61 63 victory making the final score 4-1.The Americans will host the final (30 November – 2 December) for the first time since 1992, when one of the greatest line-ups in the competition’s history featuring four past, present and future world No. 1s – Sampras, Courier, Agassi, McEnroe – beat Switzerland 3-1 in Fort Worth, Texas.

Source -- Davis Cup Official Website

Posted by Shelia

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