Sweden fight for 2-0 lead

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Tennis

Thomas Enqvist rebounded from a difficult start and Jonas Bjorkman struggled to a five-set win to give Sweden a 2-0 lead against India yesterday in their Davis Cup quarter-final in Calcutta.

Bjorkman defeated Leander Paes 1-6, 6-4, 5-7, 6-3, 7-5 in a gruelling match that took more than three hours to complete while Enqvist had a slightly easier 6-7, 7-6, 6-1, 6-1 win over Mahesh Bhupati.

Bhupati, after winning the first set tie-break, broke Enqvist in the 10th game of the second set but squandered the next game with two double faults and two errors. He lost the tie-break and never recovered. All his 18 aces came in the first two sets.

In the first match, played at the peak of the heat, Bjorkman only found his game in the middle of the second set. By then he had dropped four of his first five service games.

By the beginning of the final set, both Bjorkman and Paes were drained by Calcutta's notorious heat and dampness - 90.5F and 62 per cent humidity.

Eleven deuces were recorded in the first two games and despite eight double faults in the last set, Bjorkman held his serve and finally broke Paes in the 11th game.

South Africa took a surprise 1-0 lead yesterday against Italy in their quarter-final in Rome. Marcos Ondruska beat Italy's top player, Renzo Furlan, 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 win.

In Prague, Todd Martin powered his way past Petr Korda of the Czech Republic 6-2, 6-4, 7-5 to give the holders, the United States, a 1-0 lead while Germany, without their leading players, Boris Becker and Michael Stich, went 1- 0 behind to France in Limoges as Cedric Pioline, the US Open runner-up in 1993, beat David Prinosil, ranked No 40 in the world, 6-0, 6-7, 6-4, 6-3.

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