WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- The United States made it to the Davis Cup semifinals, sweating out a tough victory by the top-ranked doubles team of Bob and Mike Bryan.
The Bryan twins beat Feliciano Lopez and Fernando Verdasco of Spain, 7-5, 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (7-5), yesterday to give the US team an insurmountable 3-0 lead in the best-of-five event, putting the Americans a step closer to their first Davis Cup title since 1995.
After dropping the third set on the fast, indoor hard court, the Bryans survived two break points at 4-4 in the fourth set before closing it out in the tiebreaker.
The US team eliminated a Spanish squad weakened by the absence of Rafael Nadal and will next play at Sweden Sept. 21-23. Sweden downed Argentina, 3-0. In other quarterfinals, Germany ousted Belgium, 3-0, and Russia won its doubles to lead France, 2-1.
The Bryans improved to 11-1 in the Davis Cup with a harder-than-expected match against an inexperienced team. They sealed the match on Bob Bryan's volley at the net, after Mike Bryan's net cord on Lopez's serve gave the US team a 6-4 lead.
The brothers immediately embraced, setting off a flag-waving celebration before a crowd of more than 14,000. The outcome provided a bit of revenge for the US team, as Spain beat the Americans in the 2004 final on clay.
With Nadal home resting a sore foot, the US team took a 2-0 lead Friday when Andy Roddick beat Verdasco and James Blake beat Tommy Robredo. Roddick and Blake watched the doubles match from the team area, then took laps with the American flag.
The Bryans have won 36 doubles titles and five majors, including this year's Australian Open. Lopez and Verdasco are not in their league, but the Spaniards tested them .
In other Davis Cup matches:
At Goteborg, Sweden, Jonas Bjorkman and Thomas Johansson rallied to beat Guillermo Canas and David Nalbandian, 4-6, 7-6 (7-4), 6-2, 6-3, on fast indoor carpet. Sweden is captained by Mats Wilander, a seven-time major champion. Argentina was a finalist last year.
At Ostend, Belgium, Alexander Waske and Michael Kohlmann beat Belgians Olivier and Christophe Rochus, 4-6, 6-2, 6-3, 6-1, to lead Germany to its first Davis Cup semifinal since 1995.
At Moscow, Nikolay Davydenko and Igor Andreev gave Russia a 2-1 lead over France by beating Sebastien Grosjean and Michael Llodra, 3-6, 7-5, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3. The series will be decided today when Davydenko faces Richard Gasquet and Mikhail Youzhny takes on Paul-Henri Mathieu. The Russians haven't lost to France since 1983.