PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) – James Blake held off feisty Mikhail Youzhny 6-3, 7-6 (4), 6-7 (3), 7-6 (3) Friday night to give the United States a 2-0 lead over Russia in the Davis Cup final.

Blake’s victory got the U.S. within one win of its first Davis Cup title since 1995. Earlier, Andy Roddick cruised past Dmitry Tursunov 6-4, 6-4, 6-2 in the opening match on the hard court at Memorial Coliseum. The crowd was on its feet when Blake went ahead in the final tiebreaker and Youzhny hit into the net for the U.S. victory.

Blake, ranked 13th, took a 5-2 first-set lead in a game that featured him making a spectacular return, running back to the baseline and hitting backward over his head. After the point Blake pumped his fists and Roddick joined the spectators in wild cheers.

But Blake appeared to tire in the second set, and Youzhny went up 4-3. Blake talked out loud to himself, saying “C’mon, c’mon.”

Blake recovered to win the second set, but ran into trouble again in the third, when Youzhny won the tiebreaker.

AP-ES-11-30-07 2229EST


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