Friday, February 16, 2007

Chile downed by Russia in Davis Cup

144th-ranked Andreev upsets fifth-ranked Gonzalez

In first-round Davis Cup action this weekend, Russia defeated Chile at home in the resort city of La Serena, Chile.In the first of two singles matches on Friday 4 sept, Marat Safin of Russia (ranked 24th) beat Nicholas Massu of Chile (ranked 42nd), 6-3, 6-2, 6-2.
Massu has shown a slump in his form in the past year. As is tradition, the local team had been allowed to choose the location and pitch. The Chileans had picked a clay surface at sea level in an effort to slow down the hard-hitting Russians.In the next game, local fans were certain that Fernando Gonzalez, the world's No. 5 player, would easily overcome Igor Andreev, ranked 144th. Against all odds, however, Andreev struck a heavy blow to the home team's morale, defeating Gonzalez in three straight sets.The Chilean team went to rest that night without disclosing who would take part in the doubles match.A few minutes before the start of the game on Saturday morning, the crowd of 9,000 cheered as they saw that Gonzalez and Massu would try to keep Chile in the series. The two Chilean players have been playing together since the junior division. In 2004, they won the gold medal in doubles at the Athens Olympic Games.The Russians, Safin and Andreev, were no match for the Chileans, who won 7-6, 6-3, 6-4. Now all was set for the final and decisive match day, when Gonzalez would face Safin and Massu would play against Andreev.Gonzalez recovered his form on Sunday and defeated Safin, 6-3, 7-5, 6-4, boosting the crowd's spirit.Now all the attention was focused on whether Massu could defeat Andreev, the surprise player of the series. The Russian started by playing nearly perfect tennis at the beginning and won the first two sets, 6-2, 6-1. Spurred on by the local fans, Massu made a comeback in the third set to win, 7-1, in the tiebreak. Unfortunately, in the fourth set, Andreev played as well as he did earlier, winning with a final score of 6-2, 6-1, 6-7, 6-4.Chile must now await the draw by the International Tennis Federation to see which country will be its rival in September. Whoever it might be, Chile must win in order to continue in the top flight of world tennis.Other 1st Round ResultsArgentina 4, Austria 1USA 4, Czech Republic 1France 4, Romania 1Germany 3, Croatia 2Spain 3, Switzerland 2Sweden 3, Belarus 2Australia 2, Belgium 3

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