Re: RUSSIAN Davis Cup team
Davydenko, Youzhny Rejoin Russia For Davis Cup Quarterfinal With France
Photo By Getty Images By Tennis Week
Russia has re-armed with a loaded lineup for next month's Davis Cup quarterfinal against France. Fourth-ranked Nikolay Davydenko and 17th-ranked Mikhail Youzhny return to the Russian roster, joining Marat Safin and Igor Andreev when the defending Davis Cup champion hosts France on a red clay court inside Moscow's Sports Palace Luzhniki, April 6-8.
It marks the third straight quarterfinal clash between the two nations.
"Now, we have all our top players available, which is good news," Russian Davis Cup captain Shamil Tarpischev told the Davis Cup web site. Dmitry Tursunov, who clinched Russia's 2006 semifinal victory over the United States with a grueling win over Andy Roddick, and teenager Evgeny Korolev, are both options as well.
Richard Gasquet will likely lead France, which has alternated Sebastien Grosjean and Arnaud Clement as its second singles starter in its recent World Group ties. Given the fact red clay has never been Clement's best surface and is now a challenging surface for former French Open semifinalist Grosjean as he nears his 29th birthday, French captain Guy Forget may opt for another singles selection. There are 13 Frenchman currently ranked in the top 100 of the ATP rankings.
Davydenko and Gasquet have split their two career clay-court matches with the Russian registering a 6-2, 4-6, 6-2, 6-1, victory in the 2005 Davis Cup quarters. Safin is 3-1 against Gasquet, while Youzhny and Gasquet have split their two meetings.
Russia holds a 4-2 head-to-head leave over France in Davis Cup play, including a 3-2 victory in the 2002 final in Paris when Youzhny became the first man in the 102-year history of Davis Cup to fight back from a two sets to love deficit in the final match of a Davis Cup final as he scored a 3-6, 2-6, 6-3, 7-5, 6-4 triumph over Paul-Henri Mathieu to clinch the Cup.
Andreev scored two singles victories to lift Russia to a 3-2 upset of host Chile in the opening-round tie staged on red clay last month in La Serena. Andreev upset Australian Open finalist Fernando Gonzalez on the opening day of play and then clinched Russia's quarterfinal spot with a 6-2, 6-1, 6-7(1), 6-4, victory over 2004 Olympic gold medallist Nicolas Massu.
Andreev played a pivotal role the last time Russia hosted France in Davis Cup play in pounding Mathieu, 6-0, 6-2, 6-1, in the decisive match to clinch Russia's 3-2 triumph over France in the 2005 quarterfinals.
A year ago, Russia rolled to a 4-1 quarterfinal victory over France on a carpet court in Pau. The Russians would go on to beat the United States on red clay in the Davis Cup semifinals before defeating Argentina in the final.