James Blake got past his reputation for failing in big situations, in part by avoiding the fifth set today. The No. 2 American player defeated Russia's Mikhail Youzhny to give his nation a commanding 2-0 lead in the Davis Cup Final, reports the Oregonian. Fellow American Andy Roddick won in quick fashion in the day's other match.
Blake came into the day with a 1-10 record in five-set matches, and Roddick was clearly aware as he nervously watched Blake fail to serve out the win at 5-4 in the 4th set after breaking Youzhny in the previous game. But Blake would stave off any jitters he felt to get to a tiebreaker and win it, closing out a three-hour battle. The host U.S. is one win away from its first Davis Cup title since 1995. (Read more tennis stories.)