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2003 Sep 21 - Davis Cup: British hopes still alive

Tim Henman pulled of a superb victory against the Moroccan Younes El Aynaoui, winning in four sets 6-3 6-7(4) 7-6(5) 6-4, to bring the Davis Cup play-off tie level at 2-2.

This left the conclusion as to whether Morocco or Great Britain would remain in the exclusive 16 strong World Group down to the deciding match between Hicham Arazi and Greg Rusedski... and what an exciting match it was!

On paper Greg would be the favourite, but he lost the first set 7-5 and look absolutely exhausted at this point. The trainer had to be called on to give Greg a back massage, and took much longer than the allotted 4 minutes but the referee didn't complain. Greg then took the second set 5-7 to level the match.

During the third set Greg was a break up only to drop his own serve. At this point the natural light was beginning to fail, and British Captain Roger Taylor could see that if Greg continued today he would have little chance of winning the match. But, under competition rules if the floodlights were to be switched on during a set then no further sets could be played that day as both countries had not been able to practice with floodlights on.

With relatively low light the umpire was convinced the floodlights should go on, much to the displeasure of Younes El Aynaoui who knew the impact this action would have on compatriot Hicham Arazi who had a clear physical advantage at this stage.

Never-the-less the floodlights went on and all was still to play for in the third set which eventually went to a tie-break. But Greg didn't take advantage of 3 set points and Hicham claimed the final set of the day 7-6(7).

It would of course have been great for Greg to be leading 2-1, but the fact is that he will have tonight to recover before play continues tomorrow with the score at 5-7 7-5 7-6(7). Greg needs to win the next 2 sets to secure what would be an outstanding comeback victory for Great Britain.

Play is set to resume on Monday 22nd September at 12pm on BBC1/BBC2. Don't miss it!

Click here for the official Davis Cup tie details and order of play.


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