U.S. Leads Sweden in Davis Cup

Saturday, September 22nd 2007, 12:38 pm
By: News On 6

GOTEBORG, Sweden (AP) _ The United States took a 2-1 lead over Sweden in the Davis Cup semifinals Saturday, with Bob and Mike Bryan defeating Simon Aspelin and Jonas Bjorkman in doubles 7-6 (11), 6-2, 6-3.

The Bryan twins, who are 12-1 in Davis Cup doubles, saved three set points in the tiebreaker on Scandinavium arena's fast indoor carpet.

``The first set could have gone either way. It actually lifted our game and we started playing better and better,'' Bob Bryan said.

Added Sweden captain Mats Wilander: ``They're the best doubles team in the world and showed it today. They played fantastic tennis. They're so tough. The served so well. And they won all volley duels.''

The reverse singles are Sunday with Thomas Johansson starting against Andy Roddick, followed by Joachim Johansson against James Blake.

The winner of the best-of-five series will play Russia or Germany in the final in November. Germany took a 2-1 lead in its semifinal Saturday.

The Americans lead the series with Sweden 8-3. The most recent meeting was a U.S. victory in the 2004 quarterfinals en route to its 60th final. The Americans have won the most Davis Cup titles (31), but the last came in 1995. Sweden has won seven times.

Bjorkman dropped his serve for the third time in the match, giving the Americans a 3-1 lead in the third set after Aspelin netted a return. The Americans held their serve the rest of the way.

``I served the best I've done in the Davis Cup,'' Mike Bryan said. ``That first set was huge. The momentum shifted after the first set. Then we played two great sets. So we're very happy.''

The American pair broke Bjorkman's serve twice to win the second set. The Swedish veteran, at age 35 the oldest player in the series, was broken to love to give the Americans a 3-1 edge. Bob Bryan's return on the line clinched the second set with the Swedes trailing 5-2.

The hosts earned their first and only break point in the match with Mike Bryan serving at 30-40 in the seventh game. But Mike Bryan hit a pair of service winners to get out of trouble and eventually held to 5-2.

The Americans won the opening set after a 24-point tiebreaker when Aspelin netted a forehand volley off Mike Bryan's excellent service return. It was the Americans' fourth set point.

Neither team was broken in the first set, but Bjorkman staved off five break points before holding his serve to 4-3.

The Americans served steadily in the first set, but the Swede twice came within two points from winning the opening set before Mike Bryan held his serve to 5-5.

In Moscow, Alexander Waske and Philipp Petzschner beat Dmitry Tursunov and Mikhail Youzhny 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (4), 7-6 (5) to put Germany ahead 2-1.

In the World Group playoffs, Roger Federer and Yves Allegro wasted a match point in the third set and lost to Tomas Berdych and Radek Stepanek 3-6, 5-7, 7-6 (7), 6-4, 6-4 to hand the Czech Republic a 2-1 lead over Switzerland in Prague.

Tim Henman, a four-time Wimbledon semifinalist who was likely playing in his last competitive match, teamed with Jamie Murray to send Britain into the World Group with an insurmountable 3-0 lead over Croatia at Wimbledon.

In Belgrade, Novak Djokovic helped Serbia take a 2-1 lead over 28-time Davis Cup champion Australia. He teamed with Nenad Zimonjic to beat Lleyton Hewitt and Paul Hanley 3-6, 6-4, 6-3, 6-2.