Rampant Roddick gives US first blood in Davis Cup final

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Andy Roddick got the United States off to a fast start in the Davis Cup final, beating Russia's Dmitry Tursunov 6-4, 6-4, 6-2 in the first match yesterday.

Roddick threw his hands up in triumph after Tursunov's final return landed long on the hard court in Portland's Memorial Coliseum. The mostly pro-American crowd went wild.

Roddick, ranked No. 6 by the ATP, improved to 6-0 in Davis Cup play this year.

"It's kind of like 'so close but so far away.' There's no celebration," Roddick said. "It's one match. The celebration will be saved for when we win, if we win."

Roddick took the first set after he hit a 146 mph serve that No. 34 Tursunov returned long, ending a game that went to deuce four times. Roddick let out a growl after holding serve, and the US fans went wild.

Roddick led 2-1 in the second set when Tursunov hit a forehand into the net to finish off the break. He won the set with consecutive aces.

Roddick broke Tursunov again to start the third set. While he high-fived US captain Patrick McEnroe, Tursunov threw up his hands in disgust.

"If there are 12-and-a-half thousand people behind you and you can use them to help you win a tennis match, you would be stupid not to, right?" Roddick said. "Other than cheating, I'll do anything I can to win."

Mikhail Youzhny was scheduled to play 13th-ranked James Blake in the second match yesterday. Bob and Mike Bryan face Nikolay Davydenko and Igor Andreev in doubles today, before reverse singles tomorrow.

The once-dominant United States has 31 Davis Cup titles but none in 12 years, the longest span without an American victory. Pete Sampras last led the team to victory over Russia on clay in Moscow in 1995.

Roddick had 25 aces in the match, which lasted 1 hour, 53 minutes. Tursunov had eight aces.

Russia's captain Shamil Tarpischev pulled a surprise at the draw, leaving fourth-ranked Nikolay Davydenko out of the singles matches setting up the first match between Roddick and Tursunov.

"I wasn't playing my game," Tursunov said. "I was playing way too passive. I was playing not to miss."

Davydenko comes into the Davis Cup final at the center of an investigation into unusual betting patterns during a loss to Martin Vassallo Arguello of Argentina at a match in Poland in August.