By Jason Brown, USTA.com
Ostrava, Czech Republic – Team leader Andy Roddick will look to close out the Davis Cup best-of-five series as he prepares for Czech No. 1 Tomas Berdych.
21-9 in Davis Cup singles play after his four-set win on Friday over Ivo Minar, Roddick can book the United States a trip to the World Group Quarterfinals if he can find a way past Berdych.
If the series goes to a deciding fifth rubber, James Blake is waiting in the wings.
“I think we’re all looking forward to Andy and Tomas, I think it will be a great match,” said U.S. Davis Cup Captain Patrick McEnroe.
“We feel good about our chances in both matches tomorrow, but both of our guys realize that after what happened on Friday, that they have to play their best.”
Blake is scheduled to play Ivo Minar, who lost in four sets to Roddick on Friday. The 160th-ranked player could still be substituted out by Czech captain Jaroslav Navratil in favor of Dlouhy or Vizner.
Despite being on the short end of a disputed line call in his match against Berdych, McEnroe is confident that James has quickly rid himself of the bad taste in his mouth and is ready to play on Sunday, if needed.
“I think James gets over his losses pretty quickly, and I think that’s what he’s improved so much in the last couple of years,” said McEnroe. “He realizes that he may have another chance. We hope he doesn’t, we hope that Andy can win the first match, but if he doesn’t, I’m not worried about James’s mind-set. I think he’ll be just fine.”
As for Roddick, McEnroe feels that his star is clear-headed and prepared to play his best tennis against the 12th-ranked Berdych, who was recently named Czech sportsman of the year.
“I think his mind-set is good,” said McEnroe on his No. 1 player who has made a living out of Davis Cup-clinching matches for the United States with a sterling record of 7-0.
“I think he looks forward to these big matches. He knows that Tomas is playing very well, so I think he knows that he has to play probably even better than he played in his first match, and I think he will. Obviously, Tomas is playing with a lot of confidence as well, so when he feels good, he always puts forth a great effort in Davis Cup.”
In team history, the United States has lost a Davis Cup tie after leading 2-1 just nine times since the competition began in 1900. When leading 2-1, the United States holds a 65-9 record.
The Czechs, meanwhile, have come back to win from a 1-2 deficit fives times in their history, most recently in the first round in 1997 at home against India.
The reverse singles matches on Sunday, February 11 will be televised on VERSUS beginning at Noon eastern time. An encore performance will follow at 8 pm eastern on the Tennis Channel.
If the United States can clinch the series, they will face either Spain or Switzerland in the 2007 World Group Quarterfinals, April 6-8.
The United States Tennis Association has already announced that Winston-Salem, North Carolina has been nominated to host the potential quarterfinal tie.
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