Spain sealed an unbeatable 3-0 lead over Germany to advance into the semi-finals in the Davis Cup World Group after a marathon doubles effort on Saturday. ( dpa )
Feliciano Lopez and Fernando Verdasco struggled for just short of five hours before finally wearing down the home pairing of Philipp Kohlschreiber and Philipp Petzschner 6-7 (3-7), 7-6 (7-1), 6-4, 2-6, 12-10.
Spain, the 2000 and 2004 tournament winner, will wait for an opponent in the semi-finals from the US and France. The Spaniards now stand 5-9 against the Germans.
The winners needed to get through a final set which lasted for well over one hours, converting on only four of 17 break points in the contest. Germany, missing Tommy Haas through injury and poor form, converted on just four of 22 opportunities on the indoor hardcourt.
The win will likely give Rafael Nadal a rest on Sunday with the tie decided. The world number two had complained of some tiredness after flying in for the competition after last weekend's ATP final in Miami but winning his opening singles.
In Moscow, Nikolay Davydenko made a timely return after being rested following his Miami title over Nadal, partnering with Igor Andreev to send Russia into a 2-1 lead over the Czech Republic.
The hosts in Moscow earned a 3-6, 6-3, 7-5, 6-4 against substitute Radek Stepanek and specialist Pavel Vizner.
The result of the tie will come down to Sunday's reverse singles, with Andreev due to play Tomas Berdych and Marat Safin facing Stepanek.
Davydenko was held out by captain Shamil Tarpishchev, who gambled big on opening day by fielding Safin, 1-5 this season on the ATP.
Davydenko settled in after double-faulting away an early game, then quickly found his form. "We needed some time to adapt ourselves to each other and remember how to play doubles," said the world number four. "We were able to relax after the opening set.
"We somehow found our nerve. The rest of the match was completely different tennis," added Andreev.
On opening day, Safin came from two sets to love down to beat Berdych, with Stepanek levelling over Andreev.
The winners face either Argentina or Sweden in the September semi-finals, with the South Americans holding a 2-1 weekend lead after Guillermo Canas and David Nalbandian combined to stop Jonas Bjorkman and Robert Lindstedt 7-5, 6-4, 6-4 on the clay of the capital.
In the day's last tie, the defending champion US was playing in North Carolina for a victory over France, with top doubles side Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan hoping to get past Arnaud Clement and Michael Llodra, who defeated them at Wimbledon last summer.