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Thursday, Aug 13th

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Feliciano Lopez and David Ferrer won their respective singles matches on the opening day of their Davis Cup World Group Play-off against India at the R.K. Khanna Tennis Stadium here on Friday, taking Spain to a comfortable 2-0 lead.

Feliciano defeated Ramkumar Ramanathan 6-4, 6-4, 3-6, 6-1 in the first match of the day in two hours and 15 minutes. Later, Ferrer outclassed Saketh Myneni 6-1, 6-2, 6-1 in an hour and 25 minutes in a rather lopsided encounter to hand the visitors a comfortable lead.

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Indian youngster Ramkumar Ramanathan punched above his weight, putting up a brave fight before going down to Feliciano Lopez of Spain in four bitterly fought sets in the opening match of their Davis Cup World Group Play-off tie here on Friday. Spain thus took a 1-0 lead in the five-match tie.

Virtually written off even before the start, the hosts were handed a major boost before the match as Spain's star player Rafael Nadal pulled out due to a stomach bug with Feliciano taking his place.

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Tennis superstar Rafael Nadal on Friday pulled out of Spain's Davis Cup World Group Play-off opening singles match against India due to a stomach bug.

"Change of nomination for the singles rubbers in New Delhi as Feliciano Lopez replaces Rafa Nadal," Davis Cup's official Twitter account said.

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India face an uphill battle when they take on former champions Spain in a Davis Cup World Group Play-off tie at the R.K. Khanna Tennis Stadium in New Delhi from Friday. Although expected to breeze past the Indian team without breaking much sweat, Spain have brought over their top guns for this tie.

Spain, five-time Davis Cup champions, have been out of the World Group for the last couple of years, having suffered shock defeats to Brazil and Germany.

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India on Tuesday put up a brave face ahead of their Davis Cup World Group Play-off against mighty Spain with veteran Leander Paes asserting the hosts are unfazed by the magnitude of the challenge confronting them and are determined to battle it out in their own backyard.

Spain have brought over a star-studded squad which includes 14-time Grand Slam winner Rafael Nadal, World No.13 David Ferrer and the the doubles duo of Feliciano Lopez and Marc Lopez.

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India may be the underdogs against mighty Spain in the upcoming Davis Cup World tennis Group Play-off, but the hosts chose to put up a brave face in New Delhi on Tuesday. Spain have brought over a star-studded squad which includes 14-time Grand Slam winner Rafael Nadal, World No.13 David Ferrer and the the doubles duo of Feliciano Lopez and Marc Lopez. The hosts, on the other hand, have a comparatively insipid squad spearheaded by veteran star Leander Paes.

India will field Saketh Myneni and Ramkumar Ramanathan in the singles and the relatively inexperienced duo are expected to face an uphill battle against Nadal and Ferrer. To make matters worse, the Indian doubles combination, traditionally the strong point of the hosts, has been weakened by the withdrawal of Rohan Bopanna due to injury. As a result, Paes is expected to take on the might of the Spanish along with the relatively inexperienced Myneni.

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Spain may be overwhelming favourites in their upcoming Davis Cup World Group Play-off against India, but their star player Rafael Nadal is in no mood to take the hosts lightly.

India, spearheaded by the veteran Leander Paes, will field Saketh Myneni and Ramkumar Ramanathan in the singles matches against 14-time Grand Slam winner Nadal and World No.13 David Ferrer.

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