TENNIS / DAVIS CUP : U.S. Advances With Doubles Win

From Associated Press

The United States moved into the second round of the Davis Cup on Saturday with its third victory over India. But India was delighted with the results.

Patrick McEnroe and Richey Reneberg won a hard-fought four-set victory over Leander Paes and Gaurav Natekar, 7-6 (7-0), 6-4, 2-6, 7-6 (7-4).

"It's a relief," U.S. captain Tom Gullikson said. "I was expecting a tough match today."

The United States meets the Netherlands, which took a 3-0 lead over Belgium, in the World Group's next round on July 15-17.

On Friday, Jim Courier and Todd Martin gave the U.S. team a 2-0 lead, beating Zeeshan Ali and Paes, respectively.

The veteran McEnroe-Reneberg partnership played solid, unspectacular tennis but outplayed the low-ranking Indians when it counted most.

"I thought the boys came through under pressure in the tiebreaks. They showed a little more experience and took the play to the Indian team a little bit more," said Gullikson, in his first match as Davis Cup captain.

McEnroe is ranked 18th in doubles, and Reneberg is ranked 30th.

Paes and Natekar, after watching their serves returned for cross-court winners, moved to an I-formation serve, with both offensive players on one side of the court, prompting errors from the Americans.

"It was a good strategy by them," McEnroe said. "It makes you hit the ball somewhere else and makes you think a little bit more."

Nerves had the better of the Indian team. After two service breaks each in the first set, the Indians failed to win a single point in the tiebreak.

In the second set, India dropped a 4-1 advantage and lost five games in a row. Then in the fourth set, each side held serve to set up the tiebreak, when Reneberg's volleys gave the Americans the match.

"It's the big points. They play them very well. That's why they came out on top," Paes said. "I'll be thinking about those big points tonight."

Though his team hasn't won a match, Indian captain Jaideep Mukherjea said he saw the makings of a strong team for the future.

"We were the underdog from the start. I'm very happy the boys did very well," he said. "A little bit of luck and we could have won."

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At Lund, Sweden, Jan Apell and Jonas Bjorkman, making their Davis Cup debut, beat Kenneth Carlsen and Morten Christensen of Denmark, 6-7 (9-11), 7-6 (7-4), 7-6 (7-4), 2-6, 6-2, in doubles to clinch a quarterfinal berth for Sweden in the World Group. The victory gave the Swedes an unbeatable 3-0 lead over Denmark.

At Graz, Austria, defending champion Germany took a 2-1 lead over Austria by winning a seesaw doubles match in the World Group. Michael Stich and Patrick Kuehnen beat Thomas Muster and Alex Antonitsch, 6-4, 3-6, 6-2, 2-6, 6-1.

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