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.

Voices
The Sumatran tiger, endemic to the Indonesian island of Sumatra, is an endangered species
voicesJonathon Porritt: The wild tiger population is thought to have dropped by 97 per cent since 1900
Arts and Entertainment
Beast would strip to his underpants and take to the stage with a slogan scrawled on his bare chest whilst fans shouted “you fat bastard” at him
musicIndie music promoter was was a feature at Carter gigs
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
Story line: Susanoo slays the Yamata no Orochi serpent in the Japanese version of a myth dating back 40,000 years
arts + entsApplying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
Performers dressed as Tunnocks chocolate teacakes, a renowned Scottish confectionary, perform during the opening ceremony of the 2014 Commonwealth Games at Celtic Park in Glasgow on July 23, 2014.
news
Life and Style
Popular plonk: Lambrusco is selling strong
Food + drinkNaff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
News
Gardai wait for the naked man, who had gone for a skinny dip in Belfast Lough
newsTwo skinny dippers threatened with inclusion on sex offenders’ register as naturists criminalised
News
Shake down: Michelle and Barack Obama bump knuckles before an election night rally in Minnesota in 2008, the 'Washington Post' called it 'the fist bump heard round the world'
newsThe pound, a.k.a. the dap, greatly improves hygiene
Arts and Entertainment
La Roux
music
Arts and Entertainment
Graham Fellows as John Shuttleworth
comedySean O'Grady joins Graham Fellows down his local Spar
News
people
News
Ross Burden pictured in 2002
people
News
Elisabeth Murdoch: The 44-year-old said she felt a responsibility to 'stand up and be counted’'
media... says Rupert Murdoch
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Extras
indybest
Sport
Arsenal signing Calum Chambers
sportGunners complete £16m transfer of Southampton youngster
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them altogether

Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them

Jonathon Porritt sounds the alarm
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on