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Davis Cup final to be decided by last match as Argentina levels 2-2 with Russia

Davis Cup final to be decided by last match as Argentina levels 2-2 with Russia

David Nalbandian kept Argentina's hopes alive Sunday, beating Russia's Nikolay Davydenko 6-2, 6-2, 4-6, 6-4 in the Davis Cup final to level the best-of-five series at 2-2.
"We didn't win yet, so we'll have to wait for the last match," Nalbandian said. "But it's great to come back here today and win, and get the opportunity to win the title."
It was Nalbandian's second singles win in the series and set up a decisive final match later Sunday between two-time Grand Slam winner Marat Safin, ranked 26th, and Jose Acasuso.
Juan Ignacio Chela had been slated to play Safin in the fifth match, but Argentina captain Alberto Mancini replaced him with Acasuso, who has not yet played in the tie.
Third-ranked Davydenko had put Russia up 1-0 by beating Chela 6-1, 6-2, 5-7, 6-4 in the opening singles Friday. Nalbandian leveled the series by dispatching Safin in straight sets, but Russia went up 2-1 when Safin and Dmitry Tursunov breezed past Nalbandian and Agustin Calleri 6-2, 6-3, 6-4 in the doubles Saturday.
In Sunday's opening set, Nalbandian double-faulted to give Davydenko two break points in the third game, but recovered and took a 3-1 lead by breaking the Russian after he double-faulted in the next game. Nalbandian won his next service game at love and took the set with another break.
Nalbandian again broke Davydenko for a 3-1 lead in the second set. The Russian stormed through his next service game at love and looked ready to stage a comeback, but he squandered two break points in the following game and ceded the set when Nalbandian broke him again.
Nalbandian tired in the third set of a match riddled with mistakes by both players. At 4-4, Davydenko earned two break points with a forehand down the line past the Argentine. Davydenko went up 5-4 when Nalbandian sent a shot into the net on the next point and the Russian won the third set after surviving two break points on serve.
Serving to open the fourth set, Nalbandian recovered from love-40 down with four straight points, only to eventually lose the game when Davydenko sent a forehand return past him.
Nalbandian held his next serve and broke back to even the score at 2-2 and again broke the Russian to go up 5-3. Davydenko broke right back but went on to cede the match in his next service game.
"I know that they have the pressure to win here, it's their home," Nalbandian said. "It's hard to play the finals at home."
Russia is playing for its second Davis Cup win and its first at home. Russia beat France in Paris in 2002, but lost to the United States in 1995 and Sweden in 1994 at the same Moscow venue.
Argentina lost in its only previous Davis Cup final, to the United States in 1981.
Nalbandian had beaten Davydenko in four of their previous six matches, including two this season. The Argentine knocked Davydenko out of the French Open in the quarterfinals and bested him in the final of the Estoril Open in Portugal in May for his only title this season.


Updated : 2021-10-21 03:00 GMT+08:00