Roddick powers US into final against Russia

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The Independent Online

Andy Roddick put the United States into the Davis Cup final against Russia, beating Jonas Bjorkman 6-2, 7-6 (3), 6-4 yesterday to give the Americans a 4-1 win over Sweden.

Roddick, who also won his opening singles match, had little trouble against the veteran Swede, who was playing for Thomas Johansson. The 2002 Australian Open champion pulled out with an illness.

Defending champion Russia won both reverse singles matches to beat Germany 3-2, with Igor Andreev earning the decisive point by beating Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-3, 3-6, 6-0, 6-3. Earlier, Mikhail Youzhny beat Davis Cup rookie Philipp Petzschner 6-4, 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 in Moscow.

In the playoffs, Roger Federer won his second singles match of the weekend to put Switzerland even with the Czech Republic, but Radek Stepanek won the final match to give the Czechs a 3-2 win.

Federer, who is making his 2007 Davis Cup debut in Prague, beat Tomas Berdych 7-6 (5), 7-6 (10), 6-3. Stepankek then defeated Stanislas Wawrinka 7-6 (3), 6-3, 7-6 (4).

Novak Djokovic, the US Open finalist, helped Serbia reach the World Group for the first time by beating Chris Guccione 6-3, 7-6 (3), 7-6 (5) to lead the hosts to a 4-1 win over 28-time champion Australia.

Roddick used his big serve on the Scandinavium arena's fast indoor carpet in Goteborg, not allowing Bjorkman even one break in the match.

"If you would have told me I could get through three sets with Jonas without getting broken I would have questioned your sanity a little bit," Roddick said. "But I was very happy with it."

Bjorkman had his chances in the second set, however, earning two break points at 2-2. But the Swede, at 35 the oldest player in the series, returned long at 15-40 and then Roddick aced him to get to deuce. Roddick held with another ace and a forehand winner.

James Blake beat Simon Aspelin 6-1, 6-3 in the final match.

The win snapped a three-match Davis Cup losing streak for the Americans against Sweden at the Scandinavium. The 31-time champion Americans will host the Davis Cup final for the first time since 1992.

In Moscow, the Russians remained unbeaten at home since 1995. Last year, Russia beat Argentina to win its second Davis Cup title.

Federer, who wasted a match point in the third set of Saturday's doubles match with teammate Yves Allegro before losing in five, faced several tough moments Sunday.

"This match reminded me a lot of the U.S. Open final against Djokovic when I was down and came back, too" Federer said.

Berdych broke Federer to take a 2-1 lead in the first set and had a set point in the ninth game, but the 12-time Grand Slam champion broke back to 5-5.

In the tiebreaker, Berdych took a 3-0 lead but Federer won the next six points to take control.

Berdych, who took a medical time-out in the second set, had five more set points, but Federer saved them all, including three in the second tiebreaker.

Guccione replaced former top-ranked player Lleyton Hewitt for the match against Djokovic. The two-time Grand Slam champion withdrew with a viral infection.

Guccione saved one match point at 5-4 in the third set, and then led 5-2 in the final tiebreaker but Djokovic fought back in front of 20,000 fans at the packed Belgrade Arena.

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