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U.S. Davis Cup Hopes Mired in Clay

September 21, 2002|From Associated Press

PARIS — Andy Roddick and James Blake are running out of chances to change the United States' luck on the red clay of Roland Garros.

The Americans skidded and tumbled on their way to singles defeats Friday at the home of the French Open, leaving their team down 0-2 in the Davis Cup semifinals and in need of a comeback in the best-of-five competition.

Roddick lost first, 4-6, 7-6 (6), 7-6 (5), 6-1, to Arnaud Clement. Blake followed with a 6-4, 6-1, 6-7 (7), 7-5 loss to Sebastien Grosjean. It was the first loss in Davis Cup competition for both Americans, who returned to the locker room coated in red dirt and feeling miserable.

"I'm extremely disappointed that I lost," Roddick said. "Grand Slams, it's for yourself; it's almost selfish. Here, I'm playing for a whole team and a whole country. It goes a lot deeper."

Russia also took a 2-0 lead in its Davis Cup semifinal against Argentina, as Marat Safin and Yevgeny Kafelnikov won their matches in Moscow. Safin defeated Juan Ignacio Chela 6-7 (1), 7-5, 7-5, 6-1, and Kafelnikov beat Gaston Gaudio, 3-6, 7-5, 6-3, 2-6, 8-6.

The United States must win the last three matches to reach its first Davis Cup final since 1997. The Americans have won the Cup a record 31 times, but their last title was in 1995.

France's Fabrice Santoro and Michael Llodra are scheduled to play Todd Martin and Mardy Fish, who have never played together in competition, in doubles today with reverse singles matches Sunday.

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