Tennis: Israel to face Spain in Davis Cup semis

Israel's tennis team ices sensational 4-1 win over Russia, will spar with Spaniards for spot in finals.

ram erlich yayyyyyyy 248 88 (photo credit: AP)
ram erlich yayyyyyyy 248 88
(photo credit: AP)
Israel's Davis Cup team will visit Spain in the semifinals of the prestigious competition over the Rosh Hashana weekend of September 18-20 after the defending champion claimed a 3-2 victory over Germany on Sunday. Israel completed a stunning 4-1 victory over Russia on Sunday, splitting the reverse singles after securing the win on Saturday, opening an unassailable 3-0 lead thanks to Andy Ram's and Yoni Erlich's victory in the doubles match. On Sunday, Dudi Sela trailed 4-3 in the first set to Igor Andreev when he chose to retire, citing pain in his hand. However, Harel Levy made sure Israel won by the emphatic score line it deserved, defeating Igor Kunitsyn 6-4, 4-6, 7-6 (2) in the final match of the tie. "I'm exhausted. I played two tough matches, but it is a great feeling to win," Levy said. Captain Eyal Ran took charge of the team almost four years ago when it was playing Zimbabwe for survival in the Europe/Africa Group. The team defeated Zimbabwe 4-1, and followed it up with six wins in its next eight ties, culminating in the victory over Russia. "I think the turning point for this team came with the victory over Great Britain in England," Ran said, referring to the 3-2 win at Eastbourne in July 2006. "That victory turned us into a unified team, which has few top players, but plays in the World Group as it is better than the sum of its parts." In other action, Spain's Juan Carlos Ferrero beat Andreas Beck 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 in the decisive singles match to give the defending champion the quarterfinal win. Spain, which was playing without the injured Rafeal Nadal, has won 16 straight home series. Croatia eliminated the United States from the Davis Cup on Sunday and will take on the Czech Republic - who beat Argentina - at home in September's other semifinal.