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Roddick downs Massu to level tie for US

Written by: Staff

RANCHO MIRAGE, Ca, Apr 8 (Reuters) Andy Roddick beat Nicolas Massu 6-3 7-6 7-6 to bring the US level with Chile after the first day of their Davis Cup quarter-final yesterday.

Earlier, Fernando Gonzalez came from two sets down to stun James Blake 6-7 0-6 7-6 6-4 10-8 and give the visitors a 1-0 lead.

''I'm extremely psyched,'' world number four Roddick told reporters. ''James bailed me out [against Romania] in San Diego and I'm just glad I could do the same for him today. We really worked together as a team.'' The 25-year-old Gonzalez produced an extraordinary effort to recover from 3-5 down in the third set against Blake, whipping huge forehands and looking comfortable around the net on the dry grass court.

''This is my favorite tournament,'' Gonzalez said. ''I'm in the middle of my career. I get very satisfied when I play Davis Cup.

It's really amazing for me.'' The two men played out a tremendous fifth set in which Blake squandered a 4-1 lead.

Gonzalez then failed to serve the match out at 6-5 and became distracted by a series of arguments with the chair umpire over questionable overrules.

But he stayed strong and clinched victory after four hours and 19 minutes with an ace.

Blake was not pleased with the amount of complaints registered by Gonzalez and Chilean captain Hans Gildemeister.

''I thought in the past maybe I've had girlfriends that complained a lot, but he took that to a whole new level complaining when they get called,'' Blake said of Gildemeister.

Both acting US captain Dean Goldfine and Blake were also upset that Gonzalez took too much time have his legs massaged for cramp during the fifth set.

''When you take one injury timeout and get your leg rubbed, then five or six games later get the same leg rubbed and say now it's cramping, and before it wasn't, I mean, you tell me what that is,'' Blake said.

''You think that belongs in the Major Leagues or in the Bush Leagues? That's Davis Cup. That's what they have to live with.

That's not me.'' Mired in one of the worst slumps of his career, Roddick played a clinical grass court contest against Massu, serving big, launching his forehand and mixing up his game with charges to the net.

Massu also served well and hit a few brilliant shots from the backcourt, but he made critical errors at key moments.

Serving at 5-5 with the light fading in the third set tiebreaker, Massu missed an easy forehand.

Roddick then kicked in a soft 77 mph second serve, which Massu punched wide.

''The was the slowest second serve I've hit since I was 12,'' Roddick said. ''I guess he wasn't expecting it.'' Gonzalez and Massu are scheduled to play world number ones Bob and Mike Bryan in the doubles today.


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