Russians through to Davis Cup final
Shamil Tarpischev's men had been trailing 2-1 coming into Sunday's singles, but turned it around in style on day three, while both teams suffered an injury boom.
Day three of the final started with a bit of a surprise as both captains made late replacements, appointing Mikhail Youzhny and Filip Petshner instead of the teams top ranked players, Davydenko and Haas, for the first singles.
Shamil Tarpischev's decision to replace Davydenko with Youzhny was somewhat unusual despite Davydenko's poor showing on Friday but Partrik Kuhnen's decision was simply a shock with 206 world-ranked Petshner nudging out the in-form Haas.
The little known German had enough motivation however to at least stay in touch with Youzhny and actually pressured the world number 17 on occasion.
After going down 6-4 in the first couple of sets, Petschner pulled back in the third – breaking Youzhny early in the set to take it 6-3.
However, the Davis Cup rookie was an obvious underdog in that one: Youzhny remaining confident to wrap up the match, 6-3 in the fourth. Youzhny complimented the German on his fine debut after the match.
“I think it was a good debut yesterday,” commented Mikhail Youzhny.
So, it went down to the decisive singles match-up between Igor Andreev and Philip Kohlschreiber. Both showed great form on Friday, Kohlshreiber even boasting he could double his recent success in the match against Davydenko.
But despite the pressure Andreev stayed cool and took the first set 6-3 before the German found his form to secure the second on the same score line.
The next was a one-sided affair for the Moscovite but he was still able to recover at the beginning of the fourth. The crucial 7th game making the difference – Andreev finally managed a break, moved 5-3 up and then served out for the game to clinch his country a Davis Cup final berth.
“Well, it is an amazing feeling because of playing here. It is a great feeling that we are through to the final,” shared Igor Andreev.
And there they will meet the USA, which will be a repeat of the 1995 final, where Evgeny Kafelnikov and Andrey Chesnokov fell against the legendary pairing of Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi. Shamil Tarpischev's men, obviously are looking forward for sweet revenge this time around.