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Last Updated: Saturday, 2 December 2006, 13:16 GMT
Doubles win puts Russia into lead
Marat Safin
Safin helped Russia gain the upper hand in Moscow
Russia won Saturday's doubles rubber to take a 2-1 lead over Argentina in the Davis Cup final in Moscow.

Marat Safin, replacing the injured Mikhail Youzhny, teamed up with Dmitry Tursunov to beat David Nalbandian and Agustin Calleri 6-2 6-3 6-3.

Nalbandian looked out of sorts, broken twice in the first set and again in the second, as Russia eased to victory.

Sunday's decisive singles matches see Safin take on Juan Ignacio Chela, and Nikolay Davydenko facing Nalbandian.

Chela lost the opening match on Friday to Nikolay Davydenko before Nalbandian levelled the tie by beating Safin.

I knew from the beginning of the week that I wanted to play all three days

Marat Safin
Serving hard and returning well, Tursunov and Safin were in dominant form on Saturday, wrapping up victory in one hour 38 minutes.

"We didn't want to stay out there too long and let hem get in the match," said Tursunov, who had eight of Russia's 11 aces.

"Marat and I agreed that we would simply play our game and let them make mistakes, and that's what they did throughout the match."

Meawhile, Safin was delighted to make a surprise appearance in the doubles on Saturday.

"I knew from the beginning of the week that I wanted to play all three days," Safin said. "I wouldn't have taken 'no' for an answer." Argentina, who have never won the Davis Cup, sealed their place in the final with a 5-0 semi-final win over Australia.

606 DEBATE: Who do you think will win the final?

Russia, who won the title in 2002, reached the final by beating the United States 3-2.



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