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Last Updated: Friday, 6 April 2007, 19:29 GMT 20:29 UK
Youzhny heroics keep Russia level
Mikhail Youzhny
Youzhny was Russia's hero when they won the Davis Cup in 2002
Mikhail Youzhny saved holders Russia from a disaster on day one of their Davis Cup quarter-final against France.

Youzhny levelled the tie at 1-1 with an epic 6-2 6-3 6-7 (6-8) 5-7 8-6 win over Richard Gasquet in four hours, 48 minutes in Moscow.

Paul-Henri Mathieu had earlier upset world number four Nikolay Davydenko 2-6 6-2 6-1 7-5 in the opening rubber.

Elsewhere, Germany took a 2-0 lead in Belgium, Sweden went 2-0 up against Argentina, and the US led Spain 2-0.

Youzhny put in a heroic display to overcome Gasquet after slipping on the court and having his thigh and shin massaged in the medical time-out.

DAVIS CUP QUARTER-FINALS
Russia 1-1 France
Belgium 0-2 Germany
USA 2-0 Spain
Sweden 2-0 Argentina

"I have nobody to blame for what has happened at the court but me," said Youzhny.

"I had plenty of chances to finish it much, much earlier but I was in a hurry and got flustered trying to win as soon as possible."

Davydenko, however, was mightily unimpressed with his own effort against Mathieu.

"I tried to change tempo and play short in the fourth set but a couple of mistakes left me no chance," he said.

This was probably the best Davis Cup match I've ever played

Thomas Johansson

"I found out that I'm absolutely unprepared for a clay season."

Thomas Johansson thrilled his home crowd in Gothenburg with a 6-7 (3-7) 7-6 (7-2) 6-2 7-6 (7-0) win over David Nalbandian as Sweden took charge against Argentina.

In the second rubber, Robin Soderling saw off Juan Martin del Potro - a replacement for Guillermo Canas - 7-6 (7-4) 7-6 (7-4) 6-4.

"This was probably the best Davis Cup match I've ever played," said Johansson. "This is our best surface and we have three great singles players to choose from."

In Ostend, Tommy Haas was given an early fright before rallying to beat Kristof Vliegen 6-7 (4-7) 7-5 6-4 6-2.

Philipp Kohlschreiber then put Germany 2-0 up with a 6-3 7-5 7-6 (7-4) defeat of Olivier Rochus.

The United States began their tie against Spain in North Carolina with a 6-4 6-3 6-4 win for James Blake against Tommy Robredo.

World number three Andy Roddick then fought back from 5-2 down in the first set to beat Fernando Verdasco 7-6 6-1 6-4 and put them 2-0 up in the tie.

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