Argentina advances as USA, Chile fall in Dusseldorf

May 24, 2007 - 5:40 PM DUSSELDORF, Germany (Ticker) -- Chile looked unbeatable through the first few days of the World Team Cup. Argentina, apparently, was not intimidated.

Argentina dominated Chile with a 3-0 sweep on Thursday to win the Red Group and advance to the final of this event for the fifth time, including the second in the past three years.

Jose Acasuso continued an undefeated week with a 6-3, 6-4 win over Nicolas Massu in the decisive singles match of the tie. Acasuso also beat Sweden's Jonas Bjorkman and American Mardy Fish in his two previous round-robin matches.

Juan Ignacio Chela got the Argentines off on the right foot with a 6-3, 7-5 upset over world No. 5 Fernando Gonzalez in the first singles match. Chela saved four break points and won 71 percent (25-of-35) of his first serves in the upset.

In the doubles match, the team of Augustin Calleri and Sebastien Prieto completed the sweep with a 6-4, 7-5 triumph over Jorge Aguilar and Julio Peralta.

Chile had scored victories over Sweden and the United States earlier in the week, and needed two wins in their tie with Argentina to clinch a trip to the final.

Argentina has won this tournament twice in 1980 and 2002.

The United States missed its opportunity to vault over Chile into the final when it was overwhelmed by Sweden, 2-1. The Americans had already beaten Argentina this week, so a sweep of their tie on Thursday would have put them in position to win their first World Team Cup since 1993.

Without the services of second singles player Mardy Fish, who suffered a left foot injury Wednesday, the U.S. was forced to use top doubles player Mike Bryan in the opening singles match.

Bryan fell to Thomas Johansson, 6-3, 6-3, in just over an hour. Johansson slammed four aces and won 82 percent (37-of-45) of his total service points against the overmatched American.

World No. 8 James Blake continued his struggles here, dropping his second singles tie of the week with a 6-3, 6-3 loss to Robin Soderling in just 57 minutes. Blake opened the week by falling to Gonzalez when the U.S. fell to Chile.

Bryan and his twin brother Bob won the irrelevant doubles match, 6-2, 6-1, to avoid the sweep.

The loss dropped the Americans all the way down to last place in the Red Group, the third year in a row they have finished last.

The Blue Group finishes up play on Friday, with the Czech Republic needing a win over the host nation Germany to advance to the final. The Czech team has never won this event, losing to Chile in its most recent finals appearance in 2003.

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