March 6, 2009

Russia up 2-0 in Davis Cup first-rounder

Marat Safin and Mikhail Youzhny each took straight-set victories Friday, giving Russia a 2-0 lead in its best-of-five Davis Cup first-round series with Romania.

Safin opened Friday's play with a 7-6 (7-5), 6-4, 6-4 win over Victor Crivoi. Safin had to overcome 42 unforced errors but didn't face a break point in the match. Crivoi had his serve broken twice, once each in the last two sets.

Youzhny lost just four points -- three on double faults -- on his serves en route to a 6-4, 6-2, 6-4 victory over Victor Hanescu. Youzhny piled up 62 winners, against 30 unforced errors.

Russia, which has made the Davis Cup semifinals each of the last four years, can advance to the quarterfinals with a win Saturday by the doubles team of Teimuraz Gabashvili and Dmitry Tursunov, who are scheduled to go against Romanians Marius Copil and Horia Tecau.

Sunday's schedule calls for reverse singles with Safin playing Hanescu and Youzhny facing Crivoi.

The Russia-Romania winner advances to the Davis Cup quarterfinals July 10-12 against either Sweden or Israel.