Safin seals Russia's second Davis Cup

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Russia won the Davis Cup for the second time yesterday when Marat Safin defeated Jose Acasuso, of Argentina, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 in the fifth and deciding match.

Earlier in the day, David Nalbandian had levelled the score at 2-2 by beating Russia's Nikolai Davydenko 6-2, 6-2, 4-6, 6-4 in the first reverse singles at the Olympic Stadium.

"I was under pressure and I was pretty scared," Safin said after clinching Russia's first title at home, where they have been unbeaten since losing to the United States in the 1995 final.

Safin, a double Grand Slam winner, had been scheduled to play Juan Ignacio Chela but Argentina's captain, Alberto Mancini, replaced Chela with Acasuso, who had a 2-1 ATP Tour record against Safin, while Chela had won only one of his four matches against the Russian. Acasuso had also won his last four Davis Cup matches this year.

After the first two sets had been shared, Acasuso fought back when trailing 3-0 in the third, but then lost serve again with three forehand errors. After a defensive fourth set, Acasuso saved one match point at 6-4 in the tie-break, but finally succumbed with another errant forehand.