Boris Becker secured a Davis Cup semi-final between Germany and Russia when he beat the Dutchman Richard Krajicek 6-3, 6-4, 3-6, 6-1 in Utrecht yesterday. As the 27-year-old gave his country a 3-1 quarter-final winning lead over the Netherlands with victory in the opening reverse singles match, Yevgeny Kafelnikov did likewise for last year's beaten finalists, triumphing over Wayne Ferreira in straight sets in Moscow.
Becker, a surprise loser to Paul Haarhuis in the opening match of the tie on Friday, returned serve and passed with telling effect against the world No 10 Krajicek. As he had done when combining with Michael Stich to win the doubles on Saturday, Becker wrapped up victory with an ace on his second serve.
In Moscow, Ferreira clearly lost heart after his opponent had won the first two hard-fought sets and collapsed in the third as Kafelnikov took the match 6-4, 7-5, 6-1 to give the Russians an unassailable 3-1 advantage.
With the United States and Sweden having booked their September semi- final meeting on Saturday, Andre Agassi pulled out of the final singles match against Italy's Renzo Furlan in Palermo yesterday with a bad back. The doubles player Jared Palmer, ranked 22 places above Furlan at 45, defeated the Italian 6-4, 6-3 to give the Americans a 5-0 quarter-final whitewash.
Stefan Edberg and Magnus Larsson won their reverse singles matches as Sweden celebrated their fifth successive Davis Cup semi-final place with a 5-0 rout of Austria in Vaxjo.
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