Tennis: Sweden finish US humiliation

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The Independent Online
Sweden, who secured their sixth Davis Cup success on Saturday, completed a humiliating 5-0 victory over the United States yesterday, winning both reverse singles in the final in Gothenburg.

Jonas Bjorkman dispatched Jonathan Stark 6-1, 6-1, while Magnus Larsson beat Michael Chang 7-6, 6-7, 6-4 after both dead rubbers had been reduced to the best of three sets.

Stark was called up to play the opening singles because of the injury on Friday to the world No 1, Pete Sampras, who had to withdraw after pulling a calf muscle during his first-day singles match against Larsson. Chang's defeat was the latest in a long series which have seen his season end in a catalogue of disappointments.

The world No 3, who has been beaten in six of his last seven matches, tried desperately to salvage a point for the Americans, but he was constantly pulled out of position by Larsson's drop-shots and heavy cross-court forehands.

Bjorkman, who has confirmed his status as player of the year by climbing from 69th to No 4 in the world rankings, registered his third victory of the weekend.

"This is my year," he said after outplaying Stark in just 47 minutes. "Everything I do is going my way. I was very relaxed out there today and I really enjoyed myself."

The last time the United States were beaten 5-0 in the final was in 1973, when Neale Fraser's legendary Australian combination of John Newcombe, Rod Laver, Ken Rosewall and Mal Anderson completed the feat in Cleveland, Ohio.

DAVIS CUP final (Gothenburg): Sweden bt United States 5-0 (Swe first): Friday: J Bjorkman bt M Chang 7-5 1-6 6-3 6-3; M Larsson bt P Sampras 3-6 7-6 2-1 ret. Saturday: Bjorkman and N Kulti bt T Martin and J Stark 6-4 6-4 6-4. Sunday: Bjorkman bt Stark 6-1 6-1; Larsson bt Chang 7-6 6- 7 6-4.