Moscow: Doubles duo Philipp Petzschner and Alexander Waske lifted Germany to 2-1 in its Davis Cup semifinal clash with reigning champion Russia here on Saturday.

The Germans fought a tight battle with Dmitry Tursunov and Mikhail Youzhny before sealing a 6-3, 3-6, 7-6(4), 7-6(5) victory after two hours 54 minutes.

“I’m happy for my boys. They did a great job today,” said German skipper Patrik Kuhnen. “It’s like a miracle as the guys had never played together and surprisingly they teamed up very well.”

The Germans broke both Youzhny and Tursunov’s serves to take the opening set in 30 minutes as the rusty Russians piled up the unforced errors.

But the hosts replied positively in the second, breaking Waske’s serve twice to level at one set all after just over an hour on court.

No big serves were produced in the third set though the hosts had a chance for a break, which they failed to convert into the winning point.

In a tiebreak that followed both sides produced a set of errors but the Germans were slightly more precise winning the set in 48 minutes.

The fourth set was decided in another tie-break after both pairs missed a series of break chances with the Germans sealing the match 7-5.

“I was so close to quitting in the fourth set after I injured my elbow,” Waske said. “It’s so important to keep on going. I just cannot belive that we won it like this.

“And Philipp was really great today. It was his first Davis Cup match and what a performance he had! I would rise my hat for him if a had one.”

Igor Andreev had given Russia the first point on Friday with a straight-sets win 6-2, 6-2, 6-2 over Tommy Haas, while Philipp Kohlschreiber battled from a set down to beat World No. 4 Nikolay Davydenko 6-7(5), 6-2, 6-2, 4-6, 7-5 to level 1-1.

Meanwhile in Goteborg, Sweden pulled one back with Thomas Johansson defeating James Blake 6-4, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 in the second rubber after the U.S. took the first through Andy Roddick.

Britain and Austria kept their places in the World Group. In London, Britain beat Croatia 3-0, while at Innsbruck Austria beat Brazil 3-0.

The results (semifinals):

At Moscow: Russia 1 vs. Germany 2 [Nikolay Davydenko lost to Philipp Kohlschreiber 7-6(5), 2-6, 2-6, 6-4, 5-7; Dmitry Tursunov & Mikhail Youzhny lost to Philipp Petzschner & Alexander Waske 3-6, 6-3, 6-7(4), 6-7(5)].

At Goteborg: Sweden 1 vs. United States 1 [Thomas Johansson bt James Blake 6-4, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3].

Playoffs:

At Prague: Czech Republic 2 vs. Switzerland 1 [Tomas Berdych bt Stanislas Warwinka 7-6(2), 6-4, 7-5; Tomas Berdych & Radek Stepanek bt Roger Federer & Yves Allegro 3-6, 5-7, 7-6(7), 6-4, 6-4].

At Innsbruck: Austria 3 beat Brazil 0 [Stefan Koubek bt Ricardo Mello 6-2, 6-3, 6-3; Julian Knowle & Jurgen Melzer bt Gustavo Kuerten & Andre Sa 6-1, 6-1, 6-4].

At Belgrade: Serbia 2 vs. Australia 1 [Janko Tipsarevic lost to Lleyton Hewitt 2-6, 6-3, 6-4, 1-6, 1-6; Nenad Zimonjic & Novak Djokovic bt Paul Hanley & Lleyton Hewitt 3-6, 6-4, 6-3, 6-2].

At London: Britain 3 beat Croatia 0 [Tim Henman & Jamie Murray bt Marin Cilic & Lovro Zovko 4-6, 6-4, 7-6(3), 7-5. — Agencies

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