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Spain on verge of entering final

DUSSELDORF: Spain's Tommy Robredo edged out Tommy Haas 7-6, 6-4 to leave host Germany on the brink of elimination from the World Team Cup on Friday.

With the winner of the Blue Group tie set to advance to Saturday's final against Argentina, Florian Mayer has to defeat David Ferrer in the second singles if Germany is to progress any further in the event.

Home favourite Haas often brought the partisan crowd to its feet with his heroics during a tight first-set tussle.

One athletic lunge at the net, reminiscent of his more celebrated countryman Boris Becker, was greeted by loud cheers around centre court but he failed to maintain the momentum in the second set.

After surrendering the tiebreak 7-4, Haas failed to keep pace with Ferrer's baseline groundstrokes and slipped to defeat.

Sweden and a second-string United States side are level at 1-1 in the other Blue Group match but their tie has no bearing on the outcome of the tournament as they both lost their previous two contests.

The eight countries play in two round-robin groups of four teams each. The top nation in each group progresses to the final.

Venus in final

In Istanbul, Top-seeded Venus Williams beat Bulgaria's Tszvetana Pironkova 6-1, 6-3 on Friday to advance to the Istanbul Cup final.

Second-seeded Nicole Vaidisova of the Czech Republic and third-seeded Anna Smashnova of Israel were slated to play the second semifinal later on Friday.

The final of the US$200,000 WTA tournament takes place on Saturday.

The results: At Dusseldorf: (World Team Cup): Red Group: Argentina 3, Chile 0 (Juan Ignacio Chela/Guillermo Coria bt Hermes Gamonal/Adrian Garcia 6-4, 6-3.

France 2, Czech Republic 1 (Arnaud Clement/Michael Llodra bt Tomas Berdych/Jiri Novak 6-1, 6-1).

Blue Group: Spain 1, Germany 0 (Tommy Robredo bt Tommy Haas 7-6(4), 6-4).

United States 1, Sweden 1 (Vince Spadea bt Joachim Johansson 6-3, 6-4; Thomas Johansson bt Jim Morrison 6-1, 6-4).

At St. Poelten (Internationaler BTM-Power Grand Prix): Quarterfinal: Jurgen Melzer bt Christophe Rochus 6-4, 6-3.

At Strasbourg (Internationaux de Strasbourg): Semifinals: Marta Domachowska bt Dally Randriantefy 6-3, 6-3; Anabel Medina Garrigues bt Nathalie Dechy 6-4, 6-1. Quarterfinals: Nathalie Dechy bt Stephanie Cohen-Aloro 6-2, 3-6, 6-3; Dally Randriantefy bt Karolina Sprem 6-4, 4-6, 6-4.

At Istanbul (Istanbul Open): Semifinals: Venus Williams bt Tszvetana Pironkova 6-1, 6-3; — Agencies

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