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(E) Croatia shocks U.S. in Davis Cup
By Nenad N. Bach | Published  03/6/2005 | Sports | Unrated
(E) Croatia shocks U.S. in Davis Cup

 

Croatia shocks U.S. in Davis Cup
Ljubicic's five-set victory over Roddick seals Americans' fate

Croatia seemed to have almost as many fans as the U.S. team in the lively, drum-banging and somewhat rowdy crowd of 6,584. Southern California is home to a large number of transplanted Croatians.
 

 


Kevork Djansezian / AP
Croatia's Ivan Ljubicic, center, celebrates with the rest of his teammates and officials after he defeated Andy Roddick of the United States on Sunday, clinching the first-round Davis Cup tie for Croatia. Ljubicic won 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (11), 6-7(7), 6-2. The Associated Press


United States' Andy Roddick (news), right, congratulates Croatia's Ivan Ljubicic (news) after Roddick lost their first round reverse singles match of Davis Cup at the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif., Sunday, March 6, 2005. Ljubicic won 4-6,6-3,7-6,(11), 6-7(7), 6-2 to eliminate the U.S. and advance Croatia to the Davis Cup quarter-finals.(AP Photo/Kevork Djansezian)

 

Updated: 10:19 p.m. ET March 6, 2005CARSON, Calif. - The United States remains in a Davis Cup slump.

Ivan Ljubicic beat Andy Roddick in a taut, five-set marathon Sunday to give Croatia an insurmountable 3-1 lead in the opening-round Davis Cup matches. Playing iron man for his country, Ljubicic outlasted Roddick 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (11), 6-7 (7), 6-2 in a match that lasted almost 4 hours. The one remaining singles match became essentially an exhibition since Croatia had clinched the round. Andre Agassi was scheduled to play Mario Ancic, but doubles specialist Bob Bryan subbed for the United States.

The 25-year-old Ljubicic began the round with a straight-set win over Agassi, then teamed with Ancic to hand Bryan and his twin brother, Mike, their first Davis Cup loss in six matches.

Ljubicic also played and won three first-round matches in 2003 in Zagreb when Croatia eliminated the United States.

The Americans, who lost to Spain in the finals last year, have won the Cup 31 times, but haven’t taken it since 1995. The drought is their longest in 68 years.

The 34-year-old Agassi, who hadn’t played for the United States since 2000, rejoined the team to try to help end the winless string, but lost to Ljubicic in Friday’s opening singles. Roddick beat Ancic in four sets in their match the first day.

Both Roddick and Ljubicic played extremely well in what was an exciting match, with one of Roddick’s serves hitting 152 mph. But Ljubicic was able to punch back his opponent’s powerful serves much of the match, setting up a string of lengthy rallies from the baseline.

After winning the fourth-set tiebreaker, Roddick immediately lost his serve in the opening game of the fifth set. Ljubicic broke Roddick’s serve again in the fifth game to take clear control.

When Ljubicic finished it off with a service winner, the Croatian team locked arms and broke into an impromptu jig on the court.

Croatia seemed to have almost as many fans as the U.S. team in the lively, drum-banging and somewhat rowdy crowd of 6,584. Southern California is home to a large number of transplanted Croatians.

Croatia moves on to the quarterfinals against Romania, which defeated Belarus in the first round.

Source: http://msnbc.msn.com/id/7111772/
 

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