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Sunday, October 14
Roddick, U.S. clinch Davis Cup qualifier

Associated Press

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- Andy Roddick beat India's Leander Paes in four sets Sunday and clinched the United States' 4-1 victory over India in their Davis Cup World Group qualifier.

Roddick beat Paes 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, 7-5 to give the United States a 3-1 lead in the best-of-five event. James Blake capped it with a 6-3, 6-0 victory over Harsh Mankad in the final match that was reduced to best-of-three sets.

The United States advanced to the 16-team World Group in 2002, with its first-round opponent to be determined Thursday.

India is relegated to zonal play next year.

"It feels nice," first-year U.S. captain Patrick McEnroe said. "When I took this job people said it might be a couple of years before we would have a chance to win it. I think we have a chance to win it next year."

Paes, a doubles specialist ranked 177th in the world in singles, frustrated the 19-year-old Roddick in the first set. Paes used a variety of drop shots and hard forehand winners to break Roddick twice.

"He was coming in hard after every ball and hitting hard," Roddick said. "He was taking my second serve and making it look pretty childish. He was rushing me."

Roddick rebounded in the second and third sets by taking advantage of Paes' serving woes, then closed out the match with a service winner in the fourth. He improved to 3-0 in Davis Cup matches.

Roddick celebrated with McEnroe and his teammates by taking a victory lap around the court while waving the American flag.

"Normally when you win a big match you, your coach and your parents are happy," Roddick said. "It's different when you're playing for your country. It makes it a little more emotional. There was no reason to hide what I was feeling."

Roddick, ranked 15th in the world and a quarterfinalist at the U.S. Open, had 13 aces. He had 15 in a straight-set victory over Harsh Mankad on Friday.

The United States improved to 7-0 against India in Davis Cup play.

Paes lost to Blake in singles on Friday, but teamed with Mahesh Bhupathi to win a doubles match on Saturday.

"I made him come up with the goods, and he did every time I had him down," Paes said of Roddick. "Every time I put the pressure on, he came up with either a huge serve or a great pass. He was a bit too good for me today."

The United States was forced to play the qualifier after losing to Switzerland in the first round of this year's Davis Cup World Group. India has not been in the World Group since 1998.

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