Germany avoid Aussie whitewash

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The Independent Online

Germany won both reverse singles matches today, but Australia won the Davis Cup quarter-final at Memorial Drive in Adelaide, Australia, after taking an unbeatable 3-0 lead into the final day.

Returning from a calf muscle injury, Rainer Schuttler fought back from a set down to upset Aussie No 1 Lleyton Hewitt and notch Germany's first win of the weekend.

He avoided an Australian whitewash with the 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 triumph and then Michael Kohlmann boosted German spirits with a 7-5, 7-6 (5) win against Wayne Arthurs in a rain-interrupted match.

German captain Carl-Uwe Steeb said a 3-2 finish was a fair reflection on how closely contested the quarterfinal had been.

Australian captain John Newcombe said he was disappointed for his players who lost today but ecstatic to be advancing to the semi-finals.

Kohlmann, who was thrashed 6-1, 6-1, 6-2 by Hewitt on Friday in his Davis Cup debut, had a match point at 6-5 almost immediately after a 1 hour, 15 minute rain delay before Arthurs fought back to force the second set into a tiebreak.

But Kohlmann, who traveled to Australia as a hitting partner and was elevated to No 2 when the German team was struck by injuries, overcame a jittery tiebreak, when the players traded break points, to close with a fighting win.

Schuttler was sidelined for the opening sinwhen the outcome of the quarter-final had already been determined.

He started nervously, Hewitt breaking his serve three times enroute to clinching the opening set in 29 minutes.

But Schuttler, who was expected to be the German No 1 in the absence of the injured Tommy Haas and Nicolas Kiefer, overcame his problems with his serve and difficulties on an uneven grass surface to claim his first Davis Cup win.

He said he was not fit enough to risk playing in the opening singles match but wished he had played.

"It's bad luck, nobody can do anything about it now," he said of Germany's injury problems. "It was good to beat Lleyton today, it would have been better to maybe do it (last) Friday."

He broke Hewitt in the second game of the second set and, in the ninth game, saved five break points before serving out to level the match at one set apiece on his fourth set point.

He gained another break in the third game of the next set and held the advantage before closing on his third match point.

Schuttler said match lacked no intensity.

"Lleyton is not the kind of player who doesn't care about the result - it was a tough match," he said.

The Australians took a 2-0 lead on Friday after Hewitt thrashed Kohlmann and Arthurs overcoming Prinosil 7-6 (4), 3-6, 7-6 (3), 6-7 (7), 11-9.

Pat Rafter and Mark Woodforde clinched the quarterfinal after edging Prinosil and Marc-Kevin Goellner 6-3, 6-2, 2-6, 6-7 (4), 10-8 in the doubles.