Safin gives Russia early lead

Updated: 25 February 2007 10:39 IST

Marat Safin beat Richard Gasquet 7-6 (4), 4-6, 6-3, 6-7 (1), 6-1 on Friday as Russia took a 2-0 lead over France in their Davis Cup quarterfinal.

Safin gives Russia early lead

Pau:

Marat Safin beat Richard Gasquet 7-6 (4), 4-6, 6-3, 6-7 (1), 6-1 on Friday as Russia took a 2-0 lead over France in their Davis Cup quarterfinal.Nikolay Davydenko followed Safin's win with a 3-6, 6-2, 6-4, 7-6 (4) victory over Arnaud Clement. Davydenko beat the Frenchman in five sets in their only previous meeting at the 2004 Australian Open."The two matches turned on nothing," French captain Guy Forget said. "The biggest regret is for Arnaud Clement. He's very frustrated. He has the impression to have failed in his mission because his adversary seemed weakened physically."Upper handAs for Gasquet, he said, "You have to admit that Marat Safin had the upper hand. Richard constantly had his back to the wall."Safin served 33 aces in the win, which took 3 hours, 40 minutes. Gasquet took a 4-3 lead in the first set tie-breaker, but couldn't hold on."Safin was great," Gasquet said. "I did what I could. I really have very little to reproach myself for. His service is monstrous. He has enormous power and talent. He's a very hard adversary to play against."Gasquet saved seven break points in the second game of the second set to take a 2-0 lead and held on to take the set.But after equalling at two sets apiece, Gasquet crumbled in the fifth, with Safin closing it out with an ace.Davydenko survivesDavydenko managed to survive, claiming victory in a little over three hours. Exhausted, he was given a three-minute medical treatment in the tie-breaker before finishing up and literally lying down on the ground."If I wasn't able to have that rest, I didn't feel I could continue," he said later, adding that his hip was aching.Clement called the rule allowing for the interruption "immeasurably idiotic"."I feel frustrated," Clement said. "I felt physically stronger than him." (AP)



Topics : Tennis
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