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Friday, 29 November, 2002, 18:02 GMT
Grosjean hits back for France
Sebastien Grosjean beat Yevgeny Kafelnikov in straight sets
Grosjean dominated the match with his forehand
Sebastien Grosjean 7-6 6-3 6-0 Yevgeny Kafelnikov

Sebastien Grosjean beat Yevgeny Kafelnikov in straight sets to leave the Davis Cup final poised at one match all after the first day.

Marat Safin had earlier given Russia the advantage with a four-set win over 20-year-old debutant Paul-Henri Mathieu.

But Grosjean, France's number one, overwhelmed Kafelnikov with his incredible pace, movement and shot-making ability to delight the home crowd.

"I tried to make him crack physically," Grosjean said.

"The first two sets were tough. He slipped in the third set."

Kafelnikov has vowed to retire if he can help Russia to Davis Cup victory, and briefly in the first set he looked capable of giving his country a stranglehold on the tie.

Yevgeny Kafelnikov
Kafelnikov must pick himself up for the doubles
He broke Grosjean to lead 3-2 and seemed to have the measure of the Frenchman.

But Grosjean broke back straight away and took the first set on a tie-break.

From there the Frenchman was always in control, and, despite throwing away a break in the second set, he closed it out with two further breaks.

Kafelnikov must then have had Saturday's crucial doubles on his mind as Grosjean piled on the pressure with a barrage of winning passes.

Grosjean has a history of throwing away winning positions, but he just got better as the match wore on.

When he started to hit winners on his backhand side to go with those he had been hitting all day on his forehand it was clear there would be no collapse.

The Frenchman ran away with the third set 6-0 and can look forward to a rest before he faces Safin in a mouth-watering tie on Sunday.

"I did everything I could to stay in the match but I made too many mistakes," said the Russian.

"Marat had allowed me to start the game without pressure but maybe I did not pay too much attention to the score and tried to concentrate more on my best game.

"The 1-1 score is fair, deep inside I felt I was not at my best and when you play Grosjean in front of his crowd at Bercy it is difficult."

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BBC Five Live's Jonathan Overend
"This tie stays totally unpredictable"

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