St. Petersburg Times Online: Sports
TampaBay.com
Place an Ad Calendars Classified Forums Sports Weather
tampabay.com

printer version

Blake caps U.S. win in Davis Cup doubles

©Associated Press
September 22, 2002

PARIS -- Don't count out the U.S. Davis Cup team just yet.

James Blake and Todd Martin came back to beat Mickael Llodra and Fabrice Santoro in five sets Saturday as the United States staved off elimination in the semifinals against defending champion France.

Blake's smash ended the 2-6, 7-6 (7-2), 2-6, 6-4, 6-4 doubles victory as the U.S. team narrowed its deficit to 2-1 in the best-of-five series on clay at Roland Garros, home of the French Open.

"This feels great," said Blake, who lives in Tampa and trains at Saddlebrook. "It got us back into this, and now we've got a chance to win tomorrow."

In the other Davis Cup semifinal at Moscow, Wimbledon finalist David Nalbandian and Lucas Arnold outlasted Russia's Yevgeny Kafelnikov and Marat Safin 6-4, 6-4, 5-7, 3-6, 19-17 in a match that lasted more than six hours to draw Argentina within 2-1.

The teams battled for more than three hours in the final set before Argentina saved a pair of match points to win. The set stayed on serve for the first 16 games until Russia broke Nalbandian's serve. Safin was then broken to make it 17-17, and after Arnold held serve the Argentines broke Kafelnikov to win.

Blake and Andy Roddick, both beaten in Friday's singles matches, each must win today for the United States to avoid elimination.

The last time a U.S. Davis Cup squad won after trailing 2-0 was in 1934 against Australia.

Roddick plays Sebastien Grosjean, and Blake plays Arnaud Clement.

"I'm really excited for tomorrow," said Blake, who beat Clement at the Cincinnati Masters last month. Roddick and Grosjean never have played each other, but the two have trained together in Boca Raton, where they live.

The United States holds the Davis Cup record of 31 titles. Its last victory was in 1995, and it hasn't reached a final since '97.

"I think the guys will have learned a lot from what happened yesterday," U.S. captain Patrick McEnroe said. "It's going to be tough, but these guys learn quickly."

McEnroe switched his doubles team, opting to use Blake in place of Mardy Fish, who never had played with Martin in competition. Blake and Martin won the Cincinnati Masters last month. Santoro and Llodra were runners-up at this year's Australian Open.

In Saturday's closing set, Llodra conceded a break with a long backhand, allowing the 32-year-old Martin to serve for the match at 5-4. Blake wasted the first match point with a backhand volley but sealed it two points later.

Blake said he wasn't worried about playing his third match in a row today.

"Even if I'm a little bit sore to begin a match, once I get out there with the crowd and the adrenaline pumping through me, I think I'll be fine," he said.

The United States is 7-6 against France but never has won at Roland Garros. The nations last played at the home of the French Open in 1932, when France won 3-2.

Back to Sports
Back to Top

© 2006 • All Rights Reserved • Tampa Bay Times
490 First Avenue South • St. Petersburg, FL 33701 • 727-893-8111
Contact the Times | Privacy Policy
Standard of Accuracy | Terms, Conditions & Copyright
 

From the Times sports desk

College football
  • Quick recovery
  • Rix puts on display in easy ACC win
  • College football: Spartans WR ties NCAA record
  • Bowden: Franks can lead Duke to elite
  • Florida State: By the numbers
  • 'Derby offense' pays dividends for FSU
  • Around the state
  • This time, Hurricanes need no last-minute aid
  • 'Canes LBs lack favorable matchups
  • Big East: Panthers win league opener
  • Big 12: Va. Tech grinds out win against Texas A&M
  • Pac-10: Ground attack sparks floundering CU
  • ACC: Injured Hollings' three rushing TDs rally Yellow Jackets past BYU
  • C-USA: Bearcats lose to Buckeyes late
  • Around the Nation: Nevada has rarity: a winning streak
  • Big Ten: MSU rallies, then loses to ND
  • Vols quotebook
  • Gator quotebook
  • SEC: Georgia gets feel-good rout of Northwestern St.
  • Maligned Gators D gains confidence
  • Gators benefit from earlier experiences
  • Florida: By the numbers

  • Golf
  • Making Koreans proud
  • Huston can't get it going in his title defense
  • Solid play cheers up Weekley
  • Ryder Cup hostilities cast aside
  • Europe puts heat on U.S.
  • The Ryder Cup format
  • Woods has others shaking their heads

  • Tennis
  • Blake caps U.S. win in Davis Cup doubles

  • NFL
  • Niners offense goes south
  • NFL preview
  • Riley puts heat on Jets for Miami

  • Running
  • Teacher wins 5K event in Race for the Cure

  • Baseball
  • AL: Practice pays off as Myers lifts A's
  • Surprise, surprise: Yanks clinch
  • NL: Giants keep hold on wild card
  • Comiskey fan planned attack on coach, prosecutor says
  • Saves king ready for mark to fall

  • Motorsports
  • Wallace hopes to end losing streak at Dover
  • Rudd where he wants to be

  • Et cetera
  • Highs & lows
  • Sports briefs

  • Preps
  • Win makes believers out of Cougars
  • Berkeley reaches final but can't slow Plant
  • Sickles girls, King boys finish on top
  • Area teams now favorites

  • Letters
  • Ryder Cup should omit Tiger from future teams

  • Rays
  • Fans get in their gripes while Rays just keep winning
  • All-Star OF Winn named team MVP
  • Rays cut Nash loose
  • Blame falling on McRae
  • Regression has club bracing for overhaul
  • Rays tales

  • Bucs
  • Taming the beast
  • Defense feels pressure to rush Warner

  • Lightning
  • Boyle defends scoring ability
  • Prospect watch
  • Lightning returns to last year's form in loss


  • From the wire

    From the state sports wire
  • Jacksonville's Spicer placed on IR after leg surgery
  • FIU-Western Kentucky game postponed because of Jeanne
  • Brown anxious to face old team for first time
  • Dolphins' desperate defense readies for Roethlisberger
  • Former Sarasota lineman sheds tough-guy image with Michigan
  • Rothstein rejoins Heat as assistant
  • No. 16 Florida has history on its side against Kentucky
  • FSU and Clemson QBs both off to slow starts