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Friday, 20 September, 2002, 17:23 GMT 18:23 UK
Russia in sight of final
Marat Safin
Safin recovered from losing the opening set
Russia 2-0 Argentina

A dramatic fifth-set victory by Yevgeny Kafelnikov put Russia within sight of their third Davis Cup final, and their first since 1995.

Kafelnikov beat Gaston Gaudio 3-6 7-5 6-3 2-6 8-6 in Moscow to give the home side a commanding lead in the tie.

And the Russian number two, who has vowed to retire if he wins the Davis Cup this year, admitted his victory made a place in the final almost certain.

Gaston Gaudio
Gaston Gaudio came close to causing an upset
"I feel like a huge moral burden is off the team," said Kafelnikov.

Marat Safin earlier beat Juan Ignacio Chela 6-7 7-5 7-5 6-1 in the first match of the day, and Russia now just need to win Saturday's doubles to secure a place in the final.

Russian number one Safin lost the first set of his match on a tie-break but came back strongly to win the next two 7-5 7-5, before closing out the match 6-1 as the Argentine crumbled.

The first set went with the serve until the tie-break, but Safin dominated the rest of the match to give Russia the perfect start.

Despite the win, Safin showed flashes of his famous temper throughout the match and afterwards admitted he had felt the strain.

"When it is only me, if I lose, I'm upset. But when I am part of a team, if I lose, the team loses. It is very difficult, not at all pleasing," he said.

Kafelnikov followed Safin onto court and gave the 13,000 capacity crowd in Moscow's Luzhniki Sports Palace a rollercoaster ride before clincing victory.


Friday, 20 September, 1000 BST start
Marat Safin (Rus) bt Juan Ignacio Chela (Arg) 6-7 7-5 7-5 6-1
Yevgeny Kafelnikov (Rus) v Gaston Gaudio (Arg) 3-6 7-5 6-3 2-6 8-6

Saturday, 21 September, 1100 BST start
Marat Safin/Yevgeny Kafelnikov (Rus) v Lucas Arnold/David Nalbandian (Arg)

Sunday, 22 September, 1000 BST start
Marat Safin (Rus) v Gaston Gaudio (Arg)
Yevgeny Kafelnikov (Rus) v Juan Ignacio Chela (Arg)


GB v Thailand

Semi-finals

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