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Davis Cup Final : Sweden Closes In on Title

December 19, 1987|United Press International

GOTEBORG, Sweden — Mats Wilander and Anders Jarryd each scored straight-set victories Friday to put Sweden within a point of beating India for its third Davis Cup tennis trophy in four years.

Wilander, on his favorite red- clay surface, took 1 hour 55 minutes to sweep aside top Indian singles player Ramesh Krishnan, 6-4, 6-1, 6-3, in the opening match at the Scandinavium Sports Center.

Jarryd, replacing Stefan Edberg, the world's second-ranked player who is out with a foot injury, was even quicker in defeating veteran Vijay Amritraj, chalking up his 6-3, 6-3, 6-1 victory in 1:41.

Sweden, playing before a capacity crowd of 12,000, built a 2-0 lead in the best-of-five final. Australia, which beat the United States in 1939 in Phildelphia, is the only nation ever to overcome a 2-0 deficit to win the final.

Jarryd, probably paired with Edberg, was scheduled to play doubles today against brothers Vijay and Anand Amritraj.

"Anders and Mats are like walls. They never miss," Indian captain Vijay Amritraj said. "Quicker surfaces gives us more edge, but they are superior on clay."

Doubles specialist Jarryd, who had to wait for his fifth appearance in a Davis Cup final before being allowed to play singles, used his physical advantage over Amritraj.

"I was a little nervous before the game, but I felt I had control all the time," he said.

Amritraj, 34, had taken Jarryd to 7-5 in the deciding set when they met on a hardcourt last August but the slow clay surface was unsuited to the Indian's serve-and-volley game. Jarryd, eight years his junior, overwhelmed him with a barrage of groundstrokes, the Swede's passing shots often catching Amritraj charging to the net.

Jarryd broke his opponent's serve in the fifth and ninth games and lost only two points on his own delivery to take the first set 6-3. A temporary lapse gave Amritraj a break in the third game of the second set, but Jarryd, who had himself broken in the second game, took the set by breaking Amritraj again for 6-3.

The Swede lost his serve at 1-1 in the third set but then swept the final five games to take the set in 28 minutes as his older opponent tired.

"It was sort of what I had expected," said Wilander, 23, who improved his Davis Cup singles record to 29 vicories in 36 matches. "I broke him early on and easily held my serve in the first set. I think that put him off.

"It is hard to see him beating me on clay, especially when I serve this well," he said.

Krishnan, 26, who won five of six Davis Cup singles en route to the final, recognized the mismatch.

"He was better in all aspects of the game," he said. "I tried everything I could, but he was always a step ahead of me." Krishnan wrote tennis history in one way, making him and his father, Ramanathan, the only father and son to have played Davis Cup finals. Ramanathan led India to the 1966 final, which Australia won, 4-1.

Sweden, playing its fifth straight final, trounced the United States, 4-1, at home in 1984 and beat West Germany, 3-2, in the 1985 final in Munich.

Australia beat Sweden, 3-2, in both the 1983 and 1986 finals. Bjorn Borg spearheaded Sweden to its first Davis Cup final victory, 3-2 over Czechoslovakia in 1975.

Apart from its defeat to Australia in 1966, India reached the final in 1974 but refused to play against South Africa.

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