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U.S. LIMPS HOME FROM DAVIS CUP

Pete Sampras pulled up lame, Todd Martin came up short and the United States is gone from the Davis Cup.

After winning the first two singles of its Davis Cup semifinal with Sweden, the United States proceeded to lose the doubles Saturday and both singles matches Sunday.The startling 3-2 victory sends Sweden into the final Dec. 2-4 against Russia, which completed its upset of defending champion Germany in Hamburg in Sunday's other semifinal.

The Russians, who will play for the title for the first time, clinched their berth Saturday by taking a insurmountable 3-0 lead and finished with a 4-1 victory over Germany.

Sampras, ranked No. 1 in the world, retired with a strained right hamstring after losing the first set 6-3 to Stefan Edberg.

"I knew I wasn't going to win," Sampras said. "It didn't make sense to play on one leg and risk further injury."

Added Edberg: "I think this one might get a good place in the history books."

That set up the deciding match in which Magnus Larsson beat Martin, the world's No. 6 player, 5-7, 6-2, 6-2, 6-4.

"There's no doubt this is my greatest victory," Larsson said. "Team play is something different. You play for your country and the atmosphere is so special."

Sweden has won the Davis Cup four times, the last in 1987 over India. It was only the third time in 61 years of Davis Cup play the Swedes rallied to win from a 2-0 deficit. But the United States was a much stronger opponent than Yugoslavia in 1946 and Canada in 1992.

"I went out and tried to play," Sampras said. "I taped it up and it really was poor. I felt like whenever I lifted my leg I felt someone tugging on my hamstring."

Dr. George Fareed, the U.S. team's physician, said Sampras was injured Friday while playing Larsson.

"It may have been on one of those high jumps that he had when hitting an overhead," Fareed said.

Fareed expects Sampras to return to the tour within two or three weeks. Sampras is scheduled to play Wednesday in Basel, Switzerland, but "most likely" will withdraw.

Sampras was sidelined for six weeks with an ankle injury this summer and made his comeback at the U.S. Open, which he won the previous year. Sampras lost to Jaime Yzaga in the fourth round.

U.S. captain Tom Gullikson sought Sampras for the Davis Cup. U.S. Open champion Andre Agassi had another commitment and Jim Courier said he was not sufficiently motivated. Michael Chang reportedly offered to change his schedule to play Davis Cup but was turned down by Gullikson.

"It always easy to look back," Gullikson said. "But the simple fact was that these guys make their schedules six or eight months in advance a lot of times."

Larsson has been slowed by a sore elbow this summer and saw his ranking drop to No. 34.

He was broken twice in the first set before the Swede outplayed the U.S. Open semifinalist the rest of the way before the flag-waving crowd in the Scandinavium Arena.

Larsson broke Martin for 1-0 leads in the next two sets and broke again for a 3-2 lead in the fourth set. He also slammed 15 aces past the American.

"It's hard not to feel that I let the team down a little bit," Martin said. "We missed a good opportunity to move on in the Davis Cup. It's disappointing.

"I think having experienced this side of the Davis Cup, I realize now how much more important it is than many other tournaments we play."

On Friday, Martin beat Edberg and Sampras defeated Larsson. Jan Apell and Jonas Bjorkman began the Swedish comeback Saturday when they defeated Jared Palmer and Davis Cup rookie Jonathan Stark.

In Hamburg, Russia completed its upset when Yevgeny Kafelnikov beat Michael Stich 7-5, 6-3 before Bernd Karbacher scored Germany's only point, beating Alexander Volkov 6-4, 6-1.

"I don't want to look for excuses, but this was the first time in 12 years that my team did not play on the surface that I wanted," said German captain Niki Pilic, whose team lost at home for the first time since falling to Sweden in the 1985 final.

The team wanted to play on an fast indoor carpet surface, but the German federation picked an outdoor arena and installed a new hard court over the usual clay. The hard court was similar to the surface on which Stich reached the final of the U.S. Open earlier this month.

It didn't matter. Kafelnikov, ranked 12th in the world, and Volkov, No. 42, dominated with attacking baseline play.

Germany, led by Boris Becker, won the Davis Cup in 1988 and 1989. Stich guided the team to the crown last year.

In qualifying play, eight nations advanced to next year's 16-team world group: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Hungary, Croatia, South Africa and Switzerland. Other countries who will actually compete for the 1995 cup are the United States, the Netherlands, Sweden, France, Russia, Czech Republic, Germany and Spain.