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Last Updated: Friday, 22 September 2006, 11:40 GMT 12:40 UK
Gamewatch: Rusedski v Stakhovsky
Live coverage on BBC interactive

Davis Cup, Odessa

Result:

G Rusedski (GB) bt S Stakhovsky (Ukr)

1-6 6-3 5-7 6-4 9-7

GAME-BY-GAME UPDATES

By Sophie Brown

Fifth set:

Rusedski 9-7 Stakhovsky
Rusedski calls on his extensive Davis Cup experience and produces a solid service game. He's 40-0 up and to rub salt into the Ukrainian's wounds, he uses the Stakhovsky's favourite drop-shot to clinch a brave and famous victory.

Rusedski 8-7 Stakhovsky
Rusedski's grit pays off as Stakhovsky goes 15-40 down. The Ukrainian then goes long and now it is Rusedski, who has already saved a match point, who will be serving for the match.

Rusedski 7-7 Stakhovsky
Rusedski is looking more lively now than he did in some of the earlier stages of the match. He holds and the set goes to its 15th game.

Rusedski 6-7 Stakhovsky
Andy Murray back in the GB changing room must be getting very impatient as the opening match approaches the four-hour mark. Stakhovsky holds comfortably, not that much can be comfortable after a marathon like this.

Rusedski 6-6 Stakhovsky
Rusedski is refusing to give in - and with no tie-breaks in the final set of Davis Cup matches, we could be going for a while longer, too.

Rusedski 5-6 Stakhovsky
Stakhovsky looks as if he is going to hold comfortably but Rusedski battles back to deuce. But the Ukrainian comes up with a couple of big serves to hold.

Rusedski 5-5 Stakhovsky
Rusedski puts a backhand into the net to hand Ukraine a match-point but comes up with a superb kicking second serve to save himself. A whistling forehand down the line clinches the game and keeps the Briton alive in the match.

Rusedski 4-5 Stakhovsky
Stakhovsky shrugs off the disappointment of missing out on a break in the previous service game to hold to love, and the pressure is back on Rusedski.

"Rusedski was Steve McQueen there - that was The Great Escape."
BBC pundit Andrew Castle

Rusedski 4-4 Stakhovsky
From 30-0 up, Rusedski allows himself to be dragged back to 30-all. It's a tense game with Rusedski saving three break points before holding.

Rusedski 3-4 Stakhovsky
A brilliant backhand cross-court winner from Rusedski earns him a break point but Stakhovsky bangs down an ace to save it. Some more big serving from the Ukrainian sees him hold. He is evidently quite tense, letting out a big roar as he clinches the game.

Rusedski 3-3 Stakhovsky
Rusedski grimaces when he has to reach for a volley but is still looking in good shape and manages to hold serve.

Rusedski 2-3 Stakhovsky
Stakhovsky holds serve and the Ukraine captain Volodymyr Bogadanov comes out of his chair to congratulate and encourage the 20-year-old at the end of the game. The match is finely balanced now.

Rusedski 2-2 Stakhovsky
Rusedski has to face the first break point of the fifth set but does so well and storms through to take the game with some aggressively positive tennis.

Rusedski 1-2 Stakhovsky
The early action of the fifth set is mirroring the pattern of the third with both players enjoying straightforward service holds.

"If Rusedski was the sort of player he was five or six years ago, he would have won this in three sets but he has to call on different sorts of resources now."
BBC pundit Andrew Castle

Rusedski 1-1 Stakhovsky
Rusedski has shrugged off his tiredness and races to the net to retrieve a drop-shot. He doesn't let a point slip as he holds serve.

Rusedski 0-1 Stakhovsky
After his collapse in the previous set, Stakhovsky starts well, holding to 15.


Fourth set:

Rusedski 6-4 Stakhovsky
Rusedski had looked down and out of this match earlier in this set but that seems a long time ago as he eases to 40-0 and three more set points. A Stakhovsky lob goes long and the match is destined for a fifth set - Rusedski's Odessa file is still open.

Rusedski 5-4 Stakhovsky
Stakhovsky's game has fallen apart in the last couple of games and the 20-year-old goes 15-40 down. But he does brilliantly to save himself and hang on in a set in which he had had a point for a double-break about 15 minutes previously.

Rusedski 5-3 Stakhovsky
Stakhovsky is floundering now, Rusedski winning his service game to love for his fifth game on the trot. The home support has gone silent.

Rusedski 4-3 Stakhovsky
Now it is Stakhovsky's turn to save two break points from 15-40 down. He then saves another with what is becoming his trademark drop-shot. But it fails him on the fourth break point as Rusedski wins his fourth game in a row.

Rusedski 3-3 Stakhovsky
Two double faults see Rusedski slump to 15-40. But once again his never-say-die spirit comes to his aid as he battles back to hold serve.

Rusedski 2-3 Stakhovsky
Against all the odds, Rusedski breaks back as some inspired shots coincide with Stakhovsky stuttering. Suddenly his body language is much more upbeat and he chats happily with new GB captain John Lloyd at the changeover of ends.

Rusedski 1-3 Stakhovsky
There are several tired-looking shots from Rusedski, including his second double fault, and he has to save a break point. But he hangs in to keep his hopes alive.

Rusedski 0-3 Stakhovsky
Stakhovsky wraps up a love service game with two consecutive aces. It's a long way back for Rusedski from here.

Rusedski 0-2 Stakhovsky
Stakhovsky fires a backhand down the line to go 0-40 up - the drop-shot comes out again as he earns the break. The manual scoreboard is all in cyrillic lettering - probably just as well as it doesn't make good reading for British fans at the moment.

Rusedski 0-1 Stakhovsky
There's a lull in the play at 30-15 when Stakhovsky complains to the umpire about the state of the court. More clay is then swept across the surface. It does the trick for the Ukrainian, who wins the next two points to take the game.

"Towards the end of the third set, Rusedski was looking very tired and ashen - has he got any gas left in the tank?"
BBC pundit Andrew Castle


Third set:

Rusedski 5-7 Stakhovsky
Rusedski edges a forehand wide to give Ukraine a set point. A great return from Stakhovsky on the next point forces an error from Rusedski and Britain are two sets to one down.

Rusedski 5-6 Stakhovsky
Stakhovsky breaks the run of tight games with a confident service game, dropping just one point. The Ukrainian has recognised that Rusedski is not keen to chase down drop-shots and is using the tactic well.

Rusedski 5-5 Stakhovsky
Rusedski goes 15-30 down but rescues himself with some good serving.

Rusedski 4-5 Stakhovsky
Rusedski is 0-30 up on Stakhovsky's serve and is annoyed with himself after a couple of errors allow his opponent back into the game. Rusedski blasts a return long to allow the Ukrainian to hold.

Rusedski 4-4 Stakhovsky
Rusedski holds but seems a little bit fatigued and leaden. He really needs to take this third set - going to five is far from ideal with the doubles to come tomorrow and another singles on Sunday.

Rusedski 3-4 Stakhovsky
Stakhovsky is 0-15 down and 15-30 down but digs deep and pumps his fist as he pulls the game out of the bag.

Rusedski 3-3 Stakhovsky
The service games are a lot tighter now with both men having to battle hard to stave off danger. Stakhovsky gets to 30-30 on the Briton's serve but no further.

Rusedski 2-3 Stakhovsky
Stakhovsky faces a couple of questions on his serve as Rusedski battles to deuce. But the Ukrainian answers them and holds.

Rusedski 2-2 Stakhovsky
Rusedski's serving has clicked into place and he bangs down some big ones to level in the third set.

Rusedski 1-2 Stakhovsky
A love service game for Stakhovsky, who conincidentally was the runner-up to Andy Murray in the junior US Open in 2004.

Rusedski 1-1 Stakhovsky
Rusedski holds his opening service game in the third set. The weather has clouded over at the Black Sea resort club but conditions are still pleasant.

Rusedski 0-1 Stakhovsky
A good start to the third for Ukraine as Stakhovsky holds. Both men are playing well now - the next couple of games could be crucial.


Second set:

Rusedski 6-3 Stakhovsky
A love service game for Rusedski as he levels the match.

Rusedski 5-3 Stakhovsky
Stakhovsky stops the rot, not allowing Rusedski to get into the game as he holds to force the Briton to serve out for the second set.

Rusedski 5-2 Stakhovsky
The momentum of the match has suddenly swung and Rusedski does not drop a point as he wins his third game on the trot.

"The way Rusedski has upped his tempo is very impressive."
BBC pundit Andrew Castle

Rusedski 4-2 Stakhovsky
Stakhovsky misses a backhand drop-shot and then goes 0-40 down - Rusedski's first break points of the match. The Ukrainian saves the first but Rusedski whips a backhand return winner to earn his first break.

Rusedski 3-2 Stakhovsky
Rusedski holds to edge ahead again in the set.

Rusedski 2-2 Stakhovsky
Stakhovsky has not been threatened at all on his serve and once again he holds with ease.

Rusedski 2-1 Stakhovsky
Rusedski holds in straightforward fashion, a welcome event after the struggles of his previous few service games. If he can just lift his game a bit, and if the young Ukrainian's level drops...

Rusedski 1-1 Stakhovsky
For the second game in a row, Stakhovsky wins his serve without dropping a point.

Rusedski 1-0 Stakhovsky
Rusedski teeters on the brink at 15-40 but it seems to spark him into action as he then comes up with four solid and positive points to hold.

"Rusedski is the old geezer on the British team - he's got to decide if he is going to sacrifice his body for this match."
BBC pundit Andrew Castle


First set:

"Rusedski's been mugged by a pretty fine player out here."
BBC pundit Andrew Castle

Rusedski 1-6 Stakhovsky
Stakhovsky races to 40-0 love and three set points - a booming serve later and Ukraine have won the first set. The 20-year-old has played really well but he's been helped by a poor start from Rusedski.

Rusedski 1-5 Stakhovsky
Rusedski is too casual in trying to put a simple smash away and ends up losing the point to go break point down again. The 33-year-old Briton saves it and has to save another but it's third time lucky for Stakhovsky, who earns a double-break when Rusedski fires the ball long.

Rusedski 1-4 Stakhovsky
Forget Ukrainian tractors, Rusedski is getting steam-rollered at the moment. Stakhovsky has another straightforward service game, chasing down a drop-shot to win the game. The Briton is already looking a bit fed up.

Rusedski 1-3 Stakhovsky
The Ukrainian earns the first break of the match, clinching the game with a brilliantly cool drop-shot. He is moving Rusedski around the court and forcing the Briton to rally well behind the baseline.

"I think Greg might have his hands full today."
BBC pundit Andrew Castle

Rusedski 1-2 Stakhovsky
Stakhovsky has never won a Davis Cup match but has started confidently. He doesn't drop a point as he races through his serve.

Rusedski 1-1 Stakhovsky
Rusedski also breezes through his opening service game. There are a few union jacks fluttering around among the spectators but most of the support not surprisingly is for the Ukrainian. There are no spectators at one end of the clay surface - think park court rather than Roland Garros.

Rusedski 0-1 Stakhovsky
It's a good start for the young Ukrainian, who holds comfortably. He has an unorthodox service action, in which he turns square into the court and almost flaps at the ball with his racquet. It's effective, though, and he drops just one point.


It's a lovely, sunny morning in Odessa where there is a sell-out crowd at the Lawn Tennis Club. That's not as impressive as it sounds - the seating capacity is 1,280. Greg Rusedski looks pretty relaxed as he and Sergiy Stakhovsky come onto the court and start knocking up.


Build-up:

Greg Rusedski has the task of getting Britain's Davis Cup relegation play-off off to a winning start in John Lloyd's first game as GB captain.

Britain must beat Ukraine to stop relegation to Group Two for the first time since 1996.

Rusedski, who turned 33 earlier this month, meets a man 13 years his junior in Ukrainian number one Sergiy Stakhovsky, who is ranked 188th in the world.

Rusedski, who has Ukrainian ancestry, is ranked more than 50 places above his opponent but has struggled with a hip injury and his form recently and does not like playing on clay.

British number one Andy Murray will follow Rusedski on court to take on Aleksandr Dolgopolov Jnr, 17, who is ranked 352nd in the world.



SEE ALSO
Gamewatch: Murray v Dolgopolov
22 Sep 06 |  Tennis
Davis Cup photos
22 Sep 06 |  Tennis
Live sport on BBC Interactive
18 Sep 06 |  TV/Radio Schedule
Britain to face Ukraine on clay
03 Aug 06 |  Tennis


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