Big guns set for Benidorm clash
Originally published on: 26/02/10 12:21
The world’s number one and number three players are scheduled for a mouth-watering clash in Benidorm on the third and final day of the tie, which opens with Djokovic’s match against David Ferrer on Friday.
Nadal, who plays Janko Tipsarevic in his first match, will be making his return from the knee injury which affected his movement in the final of the Rotterdam World Tennis Tournament last month.
The Australian Open champion will be strongly fancied to prevail in both matches on his favoured clay surface in the Parque Tematico Terra Mitica.
Nadal’s record in the competition is formidable, having won his last 10 singles rubbers, and Spain will be bidding to win their 15th consecutive home Davis Cup tie.
However, the tournament favourites will be without the injured Fernando Verdasco.
Another notable absentee from the first round is world number two Roger Federer, whose back problem has forced him to pull out of Switzerland’s Alabama meeting with a strong USA team which includes Andy Roddick and James Blake.
Last year’s losing finalists Argentina are also hampered by injuries, with David Nalbandian and Juan Martin del Potro sitting out their home tie against Holland in Buenos Aires.
Big things are expected of a France team featuring Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Gilles Simon and Richard Gasquet who travel to Ostrava to take on the Czech Republic.
Last year’s semi-finalists Russia take on Romania and will have Marat Safin and Dmitry Tursunov among their ranks, while Mario Ancic leads the line-up for Croatia as they host Chile, and Germany and Austria meet for the first time in 15 years. The other tie sees Sweden take on Israel in Malmo in a repeat of last year’s group stage tie.