Davis Cup: Russia feels pressure against Americans

Nikolay Davydenko thinks the pressure will be on hosts Russia when they take on the US on clay in the Davis Cup semifinals this weekend in Moscow.

Updated: February 25, 2007 11:37 IST
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Moscow:Russia is playing with the home advantage on a surface that favors its team, and has two US Open semifinalists and a two-time Grand Slam champion in its lineup. Still, Nikolay Davydenko thinks the pressure will be on the hosts when Russia takes on the United States on clay in the Davis Cup semifinals this weekend. "We are playing at home and everybody expects us to win," Davydenko said on Tuesday. "Neither (Andy) Roddick, nor (James) Blake will be under that kind of pressure." Davydenko and Mikhail Youzhny reached the semifinals two weeks ago at the US Open. Roddick beat Youzhny and eventual champion Roger Federer downed Davydenko. Also on the Russian team is Dmitry Tursunov and Marat Safin, who won the US Open in 2000 and the Australian Open last year. Safin reached the fourth round at this year's US Open. "The Russians had a very good US Open and so did our team," said US captain Patrick McEnroe, referring to Roddick's run to the final and Blake's quarterfinal appearance. "We know it'll be a tough match. But the guys are playing very well, with a lot of confidence and a lot of wins under their belts in the last two weeks," McEnroe added. "That makes us feel very optimistic about our chances." The best-of-five series will be played at the Olympic Indoor stadium, where Pete Sampras won all three of his matches in 1995 to help the United States capture its 31st Davis Cup title. "To play against the United States on a hard court - I think it is not a right choice," Safin said. "Someone has to suffer and it will be not us. That's for sure." Russia beat France in 2002 for its only title, but has yet to beat the United States. The winner will face either Australia or Argentina in the final. "Chances are even and anything can happen in a match ... it will all depend on a specific shape of a specific player on a given day," Russia captain Shamil Tarpishchev said. Roddick and Blake will play singles for the Americans, while the top-ranked team of Bob and Mike Bryan will line up in the doubles. Tarpishchev, however, has still not decided yet who will play singles or doubles for Russia. The draw is scheduled for Thursday, with the first singles matches Friday, followed by doubles on Saturday and reverse singles on Sunday. (AP)

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