TENNIS: Edberg draws on old conquests for new strength: Victory a decade ago encourages Sweden in Davis Cup semi-final against USA, while Germany take on Russia

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The Independent Online
STEFAN EDBERG has fond memories of the city where he made his Davis Cup debut 10 years ago and he will have to be the Edberg of old if Sweden are to secure their first appearance in the final since 1989.

The Swedes take on the United States indoors in Gothenburg, while Germany, the defending champions, face Russia outdoors in Hamburg.

After successive semi-final defeats in the last two years, home advantage at the Scandinavium, where Sweden surprised the Americans to win the trophy in 1984, is seen as the key to success.

Today's opening singles rubber has Edberg, who played in the '84 final in a doubles partnership with Anders Jarryd, confronting Todd Martin. The American, who is ranked No 6 in the world, one behind Edberg, has beaten him twice this year, and the Swede also faces the possibility of a decisive showdown with Pete Sampras, the world No 1, on Sunday.

Edberg, who comes into the semi-final after a disappointing US Open, said: 'Realistically, if we are to win then I have to beat Martin. This is my opportunity to come back from the US Open and play well again.'

Sampras, who was sidelined for five weeks this season by an ankle injury and lost in the fourth round of the US Open, plays Magnus Larsson in today's second singles. 'I have been frustrated during the summer and my body feels as if it has been through a war,' Sampras said. 'But I want to get back and Davis Cup is the best motivation.'

Bernd Karbacher faces a demanding cup debut for Germany when he plays Russia's Yevgeny Kafelnikov in the opening singles on the outdoor hard court at the Rothenbaum in Hamburg. 'I am happy to start the tie,' Karbacher said, 'so that I don't have to go through the nerves of waiting.' Michael Stich meets Alexander Volkov in the second singles.


SWEDEN v UNITED STATES (Gothenburg) (Swe names first): Today: Singles: S Edberg v T Martin; M Larsson v P Sampras. Tomorrow: Doubles: J Apell and J Bjoerkman v J Palmer and J Stark. Sunday: Singles: Edberg v Sampras; Larsson v Martin.

GERMANY v RUSSIA (Hamburg) (Ger names first): Today: Singles: B Karbacher v Y Kafelnikov; M Stich v A Volkov. Tomorrow: Doubles: Stich and K Braasch v Kafelnikov and A Olhovskiy. Sunday: Singles: Stich v Kafelnikov; Karbacher v Volkov.