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Friday, Jan 17th

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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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The star-studded Spanish tennis squad arrived in New Delhi on Monday ahead of their Davis Cup World Group play-off tie against India.

The Spanish squad, which includes the likes of 14-time Grand Slam winner Rafael Nadal and World No.13 David Ferrer, got down to business straight away after landing in the capital in the morning, taking to the courts at the DLTA complex for a practice session in evening.

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The Rio-bound doubles duo of Leander Paes and Rohan Bopanna defeated the South Korean pair of Hong Chung and Seong Chan Hong in straight sets 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 as the hosts took an unassailable 3-0 lead in the Asia/Oceania Group 1 Davis Cup tie in Chandigarh on Saturday.

Earlier, Saketh Myneni and Ramkumar Ramanathan overcame tough conditions and difficult opponents to win their respective singles matches and hand India a comfortable 2-0 lead on the opening day here.

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The Czech Republic drew with France 1-1 after the first day's action of their Davis Cup Quarter-final tie in Trinec, Czech Republic.

In the opening singles match on Friday, Czech player Lukas Rosol beat French Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, the current No.10 in ATP rankings, 6-4, 3-6, 4-6, 7-6, 6-4. After that, Czech player Jiri Vesely lost to Lucas Pouille 6-7, 4-6 and 5-7 in the second match.

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