Davis Cup 'redemption' for Sampras

Anyone who had doubts about Pete Sampras' commitment to playing in the Davis Cup should have had them removed by his stirring defiance of injury in his second singles as he hauled the United States into the last four after their supposedly straightforward quarter-final against the Czech Republic at the weekend turned into a dogfight.

Sampras felt the need to prove a point after his surprising first-day defeat by Jiri Novak contributed to his side being locked at 2-2 going into the final singles in Inglewood, California. He beat Slava Dosedel, 6-4, 6-4, 7-6, and the match was won.

"It was a redemption," said Sampras, who had to struggle through after pulling his left quadriceps muscle early in the first set. "I never played a fifth match in Davis Cup. The way I felt on Friday with my family and friends here, it was more than a loss. I just felt really sad about it all, that they came out and I played the way I did."

The United States had gone into the final day Sunday trailing 2-1, but Andre Agassi levelled the series by winning the fourth match against Novak, who, looked tired after helping David Rikl to win Saturday's doubles.

Sampras's victory was particularly notable since he pulled his left quadriceps muscle early in the first set. But he never considered forfeiting the match.

The joy and relief for the former world No 1, who trotted off court into the waiting arms of John McEnroe, was as evident as his dejection had been on Friday after losing to Novak.McEnroe has captained two teams in his short Davis Cup career that have come back from a 2-1 deficit, the other time being against Zimbabwe in February. "Let's just say that it's not the healthiest of occupations," a smiling McEnroe said.

His life is unlikely to be any easier in the semi-finals in July when his team will travel to Spain, who trounced Russia 4-1, for a match on red clay.

While Sampras redeemed himself, there was no such salvation for another former world No 1, Yevgeny Kafelnikov, who was savaged by the Russian media after losing both his singles matches in straight sets. Described as "a complete failure" by the daily Sovietsky Sport, Kafelnikov bore the brunt of the blame for a defeat that was branded by the news agency Itar-Tass as "a complete fiasco."

Beaten in straight sets by the Davis Cup newcomer Juan Carlos Ferraro in his first match he was then overwhelmed, 6-0, 6-3, 6-0, by Albert Costa in the second, a performance that led Alex Metreveli, the former Wimbledon finalist and Davis Cup stalwart, to say: "He did not show any game plan."

In the other semi-final, Australia, who beat Germany 3-2 in Adelaide, will play Brazil, who struggled past Slovakia 3-2 in a tie in Rio that was marked by bad behaviour in the crowd. Fernando Meligeni won the tie by beating an exhausted Karol Kucera, 5-7, 7-6, 6-2, 6-4, in the final rubber. Brazil had begun the day 2-1 ahead but Slovakia pulled level when Dominik Hrbaty beat Gustavo Kuerten in straight sets on the Brazilian No 1's favourite clay surface.

Throughout the tie, Slovakia had to cope with whistling and jeering as they were serving. Play was interrupted several times on Sunday as unruly beer-drinking fans were ejected from the stands and Brazil were penalised a point in Meligeni's match because of the crowd's behaviour.

PROMOTED VIDEO
News
Nadine Gordimer died peacefully at home yesterday
people
Arts and Entertainment
Neil Young performs on stage at Hyde Park
musicAnd his Hyde Park set has rhyme and reason, writes Nick Hasted
News
Women have been desperate to possess dimples like Cheryl Cole's
people Cole has secretly married French boyfriend Jean-Bernard Fernandez-Versini after just three months.
Arts and Entertainment
AKB48 perform during one of their daily concerts at Tokyo’s Akihabara theatre
musicJapan's AKB48 are one of the world’s most-successful pop acts
News
Ian Thorpe has thanked his supporters after the athlete said in an interview that he is gay
people
News
The headstone of jazz great Miles Davis at Woodlawn Cemetery in New York
news
Arts and Entertainment
Brendan O'Carroll has brought out his female alter-ego Agnes Brown for Mrs Brown's Boys D'Movie
filmComedy holds its place at top of the UK box office
News
newsBear sweltering in zoo that reaches temperatures of 40 degrees
Arts and Entertainment
Professor Kathy Willis will showcase plants from the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew
radioPlants: From Roots to Riches has been two years in the making
Extras
indybestThe tastiest creations for children’s parties this summer
Arts and Entertainment
TV The follow-up documentary that has got locals worried
Arts and Entertainment
Paolo Nutini performs at T in the Park
music
Caption competition
Caption competition
Daily World Cup Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Super Mario crushes the Messi dream as Germany win the 2014 World Cup in Brazil

Super Mario crushes the Messi dream

Germany win the 2014 World Cup in Brazil
Saharan remains may be evidence of the first race war, 13,000 years ago

The first race war, 13,000 years ago?

Saharan remains may be evidence of oldest large-scale armed conflict
Scientists find early warning system for Alzheimer’s

Scientists find early warning system for Alzheimer’s

Researchers hope eye tests can spot ‘biomarkers’ of the disease
Sex, controversy and schoolgirl schtick

Meet Japan's AKB48

Pop, sex and schoolgirl schtick make for controversial success
In pictures: Breathtaking results of this weekend's 'supermoon'

Weekend's 'supermoon' in pictures

The moon appeared bigger and brighter at the weekend
Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country

How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over northern Iraq

A speech by an ex-MI6 boss hints at a plan going back over a decade. In some areas, being Shia is akin to being a Jew in Nazi Germany, says Patrick Cockburn
The evolution of Andy Serkis: First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

The evolution of Andy Serkis

First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial: Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried

You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial...

Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried
Refugee children from Central America let down by Washington's high ideals

Refugee children let down by Washington's high ideals

Democrats and Republicans refuse to set aside their differences to cope with the influx of desperate Central Americas, says Rupert Cornwell
Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Malorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...

Blackest is the new black

Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

The US Ambassador to London holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence – it's all part of the job, he tells Chris Green
Meet the Quantified Selfers: From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor

Meet the 'Quantified Selfers'

From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
Madani Younis: Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Madani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

When it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish – among others – know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor