Sun, Sep 21, 2003 - Page 22 News List

Spain leads Argentina in Cup action

DAVIS CUP Following a win by Carlos Moya, Spain now leads Argentina 2-0 as Roger Federer tied up Australia 1-1. Taiwan is ahead of Hong Kong 3-0


Argentina's Gaston Gaudio returns a shot to Spain's Juan Carlos Ferrero during a Davis Cup semifinals match in Malaga, Spain, Friday. Ferrero defeated Gaudio 6-4, 6-0, 6-0.


Carlos Moya beat an ailing Mariano Zabaleta to give Spain a 2-0 lead over Argentina, while Roger Federer beat Mark Philippoussis in a Wimbledon final rematch to draw Switzerland 1-1 with Australia in the Davis Cup semifinals.

Venezuela was up 2-0 over Bahamas, with Jose de Armas and Kepler Orellana winning their matches Friday night. Romania took a 1-0 lead over Ecuador with the second match of the night suspended due to darkness.

In London, Moya won 5-7, 2-6, 6-2, 6-0, 6-1 on clay in Malaga, but only after Zabaleta suffered a cramp in his left leg with the score tied 2-2 in the third set.

Zabaleta had to be treated by a trainer for several minutes on the sidelines. He decided to play on, but couldn't serve with power, change direction or run down balls. He won only one of the next 17 games.

"It wasn't a normal day," Moya said. "I don't like to win that way, but I prefer to win."

Earlier Friday, Juan Carlos Ferrero, the world's top-ranked player, breezed to a 6-4, 6-0, 6-0 win over Gaston Gaudio to put Spain ahead 1-0 in the best-of-five series. Argentina's top two players, David Nalbandian and Guillermo Coria, had both withdrawn with injuries.

In Melbourne, on a hard court, Federer downed Philippoussis 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (3) after Lleyton Hewitt gave Australia a 1-0 lead with a 6-4, 6-4, 6-1 win over Michel Kratochvil.

Ferrero, playing at home for the first time since he became No. 1 following his US Open final appearance, fell behind 3-1 to Gaudio and lost three of his first five service games. But he picked up his game, winning 10 points in a row in the second.

``I tried to save energy for the third set, but he just played better than me,'' said Gaudio.

In Maracaibo, Venezuela, Orellana easily defeated Bahama's No. 1 seed, Kevin Mulling, in straight sets, 6-3, 6-1, 6-1 on Friday.

Armas, relying on his strong backhand and rushing frequently to the net, downed Bahamas' No. 2 Christopher Eldon 6-4, 6-4, 7-5.

Orellana and Armas are scheduled to meet Mulling and Davin Rossell in doubles today.

In Quito, Ecuador, Romania's Victor Hanescu beat Ecuador's No. 2 player Giovanni Lapentti 7-6 (3), 6-7 (5), 7-6 (5), 6-7 (1), 6-4, in a match that lasted 4 hours and 10 minutes.

The second match between Ecuador's No. 1 Nicolas Lapentti and Romanian No. 2 Razvan Sabau was suspended after three hours and 20 minutes at 6-4, 6-4, 3-6, 4-5, with Sabau leading in the fourth set.

The match was scheduled to resume before Saturday's doubles match between the Lapentti brothers and Romania's Florin Mergea and Horia Tecau.

In more doubles Saturday, Lucas Arnold and Agustin Calleri hope to keep the tie alive against Albert Costa and Alex Corretja.

Both Australian matches were played indoors under the retractable roof of the Rod Laver Arena due to poor weather.

Philippoussis appeared to sleepwalk at the start, allowing Federer to go up 3-0. And things didn't improve much as Federer dominated an error-prone Philippoussis before a crowd of 13,022.

"He fought back, and I really had to give everything in the third set," Federer said. "I wanted to get it over in three because anything can happen if it goes past that."

Hewitt, a former No. 1, opened his match by breaking Kratochvil's serve, broke him again in the third game of the second set and three more times in the third. The Australian broke Kratochvil's serve in the third, fifth and final games of the third set.

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