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Del Potro outlasts Murray, gives Argentina lead in Davis Cup
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 16 - 09 - 2016

Juan Martin del Potro ended Andy Murray's 14-match winning streak in the Davis Cup, coming through a grueling five-setter to give Argentina a 1-0 lead over titleholder Britain in the semifinals Friday.
Del Potro won 6-4, 5-7, 6-7 (5), 6-3, 6-4 in 5 hours, 7 minutes to gain a measure of revenge after losing the Olympic final to Murray in Rio de Janeiro last month.
Being taken the distance was exactly what Murray didn't need at the end of his long summer of tennis in which he won both the Wimbledon and Olympic titles for the second time. He looked almost out on his feet at times in an energy-sapping final set, and couldn't handle the barrage of forehand shots by the rejuvenated Del Potro.
In Croatia, Richard Gasquet also gave France a 1-0 lead over Croatia in their semifinals, winning the opening tie against Borna Coric in straight sets.
Gasquet, who found out he would play in singles after Gael Monfils left the injury-hit France team Wednesday, was in complete control and prevailed 6-2, 7-6 (5), 6-1, limiting his mistakes to just 13 unforced errors.
Earlier, Japan and Australia took 2-0 leads in their Davis Cup World Group playoffs Friday.
In need of victory against Ukraine to retain its place in the World Group next year, Japan opted to rest world No. 5 Kei Nishikori in the opening singles, and the decision paid off in Tokyo.
Taro Daniel defeated Sergiy Stakhovsky 7-6 (4), 7-6 (2), 6-1, and Yoshihito Nishioka gave the host a commanding lead by topping Illya Marchenko 6-4, 5-7, 6-4, 7-5.
In Sydney, Nick Kyrgios and Bernard Tomic had straight-set singles victories against Slovakia.
Kyrgios, Australia's No. 1 player, opened with a 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 win over Andrej Martin. Tomic beat Jozef Kovalik 7-6 (5) 6-4, 6-4.
In Berlin, Jan-Lennard Struff and Florian Mayer won their respective matches to give Germany a 2-0 lead over Poland in the countries' Davis Cup World Group playoff.
Struff was made to work hard to beat the 20-year-old Kamil Majchrzak 6-7 (8), 6-3, 5-7, 6-2, 6-1 in three hours and 43 minutes, while Florian Mayer had a similarly tough time against 19-year-old Hubert Hurkacz, winning 1-6, 7-6 (6), 6-4, 7-5 in just under three hours.
In New Delhi, Spain took a commanding 2-0 lead over India in the Davis Cup World Group playoff despite the last-minute pullout of star player Rafael Nadal.
Feliciano Lopez, who took court in place of Nadal in the first match, and David Ferrer claimed contrasting victories in their respective singles matches.
The left-handed Lopez served past Ramkumar Ramanathan 6-4, 6-4, 3-6, 6-1 while the 13th-ranked Ferrer outplayed Saketh Myneni 6-1, 6-2, 6-1.
In Christchurch, New Zealand raced to a 2-0 lead in their Davis Cup Asia/Oceania Group I tie against Pakistan after dominating the opening singles rubbers.
Veteran Jose Statham, playing a record 25th Davis Cup tie, downed Muhammad Abid 6-0, 6-1, 6-4 to give the Kiwis a perfect start.
Tournament debutant Finn Tearney was even more emphatic, crushing Samir Iftikar 6-2, 6-0, 6-0 to leave Pakistan on the brink in the best-of-five tie.
The winner will remain in Asia/Oceania Group I, with the loser relegated to Group II. — Agencies


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