Tennis: Russia reach Davis Cup final

Click to follow
The Independent Online
Andrei Chesnokov saved nine match points before completing a stunning victory for Russia over Germany yesterday, winning the final set 14-12 against Michael Stich to put his country into the Davis Cup final.

Russia will now meet the United States in the final after the Americans clinched their place despite the loss of Andre Agassi, the world No 1, with a pulled muscle. His replacement, Todd Martin, did not let his country down, beating Thomas Enqvist 7-5, 7-5, 7-6 in the reverse singles to seal a 3-1 win.

The victory provided a wonderful redemption for Martin, who not only lost Saturday's doubles with Jonathan Stark, but was defeated in the fifth and deciding match of last year's semi- final in Sweden by Magnus Larsson.

The Germans, who had led 2-0 and also had a 4-2 lead in the fifth set of the doubles, were pulled back to 2-2 earlier in the day when Yevgeny Kafelnikov overpowered Bernd Karbacher, a replacement for Boris Becker, 6-2, 7-6, 6-2.

Becker withdrew with a back injury aggravated from long matches on the slow clay courts in Moscow. That left Stich-Chesnokov as the decider and the Russian eventually gained a 6-4, 1-6, 1-6, 6-3, 14-12 victory after 4 hours 18 minutes of play. Stich, who broke the Russian's service five times in the second and third sets, also served for the match at 7-6 in the fifth.