Tennis: Stich sews up Germany's cup win

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MICHAEL STICH took Germany, the defending champions, through to the Davis Cup semi-finals after a tough victory over Spain's Sergi Bruguera in Halle yesterday.

Stich gave Germany an unbeatable 3-1 lead by winning 7-6, 5-7, 7-5, 6-2 in the first reverse singles, ensuring that his team would play Russia in September.

Stich, the 1991 Wimbledon champion and world No 4, won the first-set tie-break 7-4 but the clay-court specialist and French Open champion, who is improving on grass all the time, took the second after Stich saved four set points. In the third Bruguera squandered two break points that would have given him a 2-0 lead and by the fourth his opponent was in control.

Russia came from behind to edge out the Czech Republic 3-2 in their quarter-final in Moscow. Trailing 2-1 after losing Saturday's doubles, the Russians won both reverse singles when Yevgeny Kafelnikov beat Petr Korda 6-4, 6-1, 2-6, 6-4 and Andrei Olhovskiy sealed the match with a 6-2,

2-6, 7-6, 6-3 win over Slava Dosedel.

On the day that Jean Borotra, one of France's greatest Davis Cup players, died, there was more gloom for the current team as they lost to Sweden in Cannes.

Stefan Edberg defeated Cedric Pioline 6-4, 6-3, 6-1 in the first of the reverse singles to set up a contest with either the United States or the Netherlands. Pioline was making his Davis Cup debut this weekend after ending a feud with French officials.

Edberg's success, after losing in the first round at the French Open and the second round at Wimbledon this year, proved he is back to his best form.

'For me it was important to go out there and play well after what has happened the last couple months,' said Edberg, who did not lose a set in two matches here.

Pete Sampras, the world No 1 and Wimbledon champion, from the United States, suffered a rare defeat when the Dutchman Richard Krajicek beat him 2-6, 7-5, 7-6, 7-5 to level the quarter-final at 2-2 in Rotterdam yesterday. The fourth set was interrupted by a light aircraft circling over the stadium trailing a banner wishing Jacco Eltingh good luck. He was due to meet Jim Courier in the deciding reverse singles.

Results, Sporting Digest, page 31