• Singles rubbers dead as Israel finishes off Russia

    7/11/09 8:36 PM | Ricky Dimon
    Singles rubbers dead as Israel finishes off Russia Israel completes a clean sweep of Russia in the Davis Cup semifinals on Saturday. With the host Israelis already assured of a semifinal spot, Sunday's reverse singles rubbers will be of no significance.

    Israel reached the Davis Cup semifinals for the first time ever on Saturday, erasing the favored Russians 3-0. Jonathan Erlich and Andy Ram outlasted Marat Safin and Igor Kunitsyn 6-3, 6-4, 6-7(3), 4-6, 6-4 in the doubles rubber one day after the host Israelis swept two singles matches.

    With the tie clinched for Israel, Sunday's reverse singles rubbers will be "dead." Instead of best-of-five matches, it will be best-of-three sets and the outcomes are of little to no importance.

    The four original singles players--Dudi Sela and Harel Levy for Israel and Igor Andreev and Mikhail Youzhny for Russia--are still on the schedule at the moment. Erlich, Ram, Safin, and Kunitsyn could be replacements now that the singles rubbers do not matter.

    "I have to thank the team for all the remarkable work they have done," said Israel's captain Eyal Ran, who was carried on his team's shoulders around the Tel Aviv indoor venue.

    "This is something I will cherish for all of my life," said Erlich, who had recently been sidelined for 10 months due to injury.

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