DUESSELDORF (Germany): Argentina and Chile set up a Latin American showdown for Blue Group supremacy at the World Team Cup after both teams won their second successive matches on a day when favourites Spain were knocked out.
Argentina maintained their perfect record with a 3-0 victory over hosts Germany, while Nicolas Massu and Fernando Gonzalez inspired Chile to a whitewash over Sweden.
The winner of tomorrow's match between the two will top the Blue Group and advance to Saturday’s final.
Spain’s title chances ended when Carlos Moya and Alex Corretja lost the deciding doubles 6-3, 6-4 to Jiri Novak and Radek Stepanek, putting the Czech Republic top of the Red Group with a 2-0 record.
David Nalbandian, runner-up at Wimbledon last year and a semi-finalist in Hamburg last week, outbattled Rainer Schuettler 6-4, 7-5 to put Argentina ahead against Germany.
Tomas Behrend, who beat Marcelo Rios in Germany’s opening match, was unable to repeat his heroics and Gaston Gaudio made it 2-0 with a confident 6-2, 6-4 victory.
Nalbandian and Lucas Arnold then beat Lars Burgsmueller and Michael Kohlmann 6-2, 0-6, 6-2 to complete the whitewash.
“We are very focused this week,” Gaudio said. “We are determined to defend our title, but we know it will be a really hard match against Chile.”
Chile made it two wins from two matches with a powerful performance against Sweden, who, like Spain and Germany, can now no longer qualify for the final.
Today, the Czech Republic, the US and Australia all have a chance of winning top spot in the Red Group.
The Czech Republic will win the group if they beat the US, while the US and Australia, who play Spain, must win to stand a chance of advancing to the final.
ST POELTEN (Austria): Top seed Andy Roddick overpowered qualifier Philipp Kohlschreiber at the Austrian Grand Prix yesterday to set up a quarter-final clash with 1996 Wimbledon champion Richard Krajicek.
The 21-year-old American, using this 380,000 euros (US$442,400) claycourt tournament to warm up for next week’s French Open, relied on his blistering serve to oust his German opponent 6-3, 6-4.
Roddick said he was looking forward to playing Krajicek, who beat American Brian Vahaly 6-2, 2-6, 6-3 in the second round.
In earlier play, French Open champion Albert Costa shrugged off the loss of the first set and rainy conditions to reach the second round. – Agencies