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U.S. team dispatches Belgium, now eyes Italy

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The players and site for the Davis Cup semifinal between the United States and Italy have yet to be determined. One thing is certain, though.

"It won't be on red clay, that's for sure," U.S. captain Tom Gullikson said Sunday after his team completed its 4-1 quarterfinal victory over Belgium. "We'll possibly go indoors."The semifinal will be played in the United States on Sept. 25-27. The other semifinal will match Sweden against Spain on the same dates.

After clinching the best-of-5 series Saturday, the United States split two meaningless singles matches with Belgium on Sunday.

Todd Martin spoiled Xavier Malisse's 18th birthday with a 7-6 (7-1), 6-3 victory to give the United States a 4-0 lead. But Belgium avoided a sweep when Jim Courier retired with an arm injury while leading Christophe Van Garsse 6-3, 1-4.

"I just have a tired arm from a lot of tennis," said Courier, who won a four-set singles match against Filip Dewulf on Friday before teaming with Martin to win a five-set doubles match Saturday.

With only pride on the line Sunday, Andre Agassi was excused so he could prepare for the Washington tournament.

"He got hurt earlier playing a dead rubber (meaningless match) and it ruined his game for a long time so I could understand his decision," Gullikson said. "The tie is over when you win three games. They don't play the sixth or seventh game of a World Series if one team wins four before that."

Sunday's matches were reduced to best-of-3 sets since the Americans had clinched the tie.

SWEDEN 3, GERMANY 2: At Hamburg, Germany, Sweden clinched the series when Jonas Bjorkman won a five-setter against Nicolas Kiefer.

Bjorkman overcame a partisan German crowd for the 6-3, 4-6, 6-2, 5-7, 6-4 victory that gave Sweden an unsurmountable 3-1 lead. In a final singles match reduced to best-of-3 sets, Germany's Tommy Haas defeated Magnus Larsson 6-7 (4-7), 7-5, 6-2.

SPAIN 4, SWITZERLAND 1: At La Coruna, Spain, the home team advanced to the semifinals for the first time in 11 years.

Carlos Moya won the clinching match, downing Marc Rosset 7-5, 6-1, 7-5 to give Spain a 3-1 lead. Alex Corretja of Spain then beat George Bastl 6-0, 7-5 in a match shortened to the best-of-3 sets.

ITALY 5, ZIMBABWE 0: At Prato, Italy, Davide Sanguinetti beat Wayne Black 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, and Diego Nargiso defeated Genius Chidzikwo 6-0, 6-2 to give Italy a sweep on clay courts.

A&P CLASSIC: Any victory, even in an exhibition tournament, is a big deal for Steffi Graf as she works her way back from a knee injury.

"I think I made the best out of these three days," said Graf, who beat Amanda Coetzer 6-3, 6-3 on Sunday for her sixth A&P Classic title in Mahwah, N.J.

"I couldn't expect to come here and win all three matches, especially today. I haven't really felt so great in the heat because I haven't really been in the heat for quite some time."