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Davis Cup Friday round-up: Traditional powerhouses get off to perfect start, defending champs Serbia shaken by spirited India

robin_soderling3The opening day of the 2011 Davis Cup turned out to be a mixed one for the big guns - while traditional powerhouses France, Spain, Argentina and Sweden took 2-0 leads going into Saturday, defending champions Serbia and strong contenders Czech Republic had to settle for a 1-1 scoreline against their unfancied Asian opponents, India and Kazakhstan respectively. The United States and Croatia were also held to 1-1 draws by Chile and Germany respectively. Here's a round-up of all the action on Friday:

Sweden 2-0 Russia (Being played in Boras, Sweden):

World No.4 Robin Soderling led the way as Sweden took a 2-0 lead going into the doubles rubber on Saturday. While the Russian team was considerably weakened by the Davis Cup retirement of Mikhail Youzhny, it was a disappointing performance from the 2006 champions as they went down in straight sets in both singles rubbers. Sodering got the better of Igor Andreev 6-3, 6-3, 6-1 before comeback kid Joachim Johansson caused an upset, beating Teymuraz Gabashvili 6-3, 7-6(4), 6-4.


India - Serbia Davis Cup tie locked at 1-1 thanks to Super Somdev

somdev1Somdev Devvarman proved that he belongs on the big stage of world tennis with a fabulous, straight-sets win over World No.45 Janko Tipsarevic of Serbia to level the tie at 1-1 on the opening day singles of the Davis Cup World Group Round 1 tie being played in Novi Sad, Serbia. Somdev's win was no less than what the Indians deserved on a day when their other singles player, Rohan Bopanna mounted a spirited and determined comeback only to just lose out in a tough five set contest to Victor Troicki, a player ranked more than 600 places above him in the ATP Tour Rankings!

The reigning Davis Cup champions were without world no.3 and Australian Open Champion Novak Djokovic, and leading the team in his stead was world no.18 Troicki. He square off against veteran Indian doubles specialist Rohan Bopanna in the opening encounter.


India suffer huge blow as Lee-Hesh pull out of Davis Cup tie, Djokovic to skip tie as well

mahesh_bhupathi4As if playing the defending champions on their home turf wasn't hard enough, it just got a whole lot harder for the Indian Davis Cup team as the top doubles pairing of Mahesh Bhupathi and Leander Paes pulled out of the tie against Serbia to be played this weekend.

Both Bhupathi and Paes cited injury for their withdrawal, while Bhupathi has pulled a muscle in the leg, Paes is suffering from a wrist inflammation. Bhupathi reportedly broke the news through his Twitter account before officially informing AITA General Secretary Anil Khanna.


ITF revises Davis Cup dead rubber policy

The ITF announced today that it has revised the dead rubber policy for all Davis Cup ties starting with this weekend's Davis Cup by BNP Paribas World Group first round and 25 zone group ties on 4-6 March.

The new policy states that if a tie is decided after the fourth rubber (ie one nation has a winning 3-1 lead after the first match on Sunday) and the fourth rubber lasts at least four sets, the fifth rubber will not be played unless both teams agree otherwise.


India looking for a miracle against Serbia in the Davis Cup

novak_djokovic1Led by the lionhearted Somdev Devvarman and the mercurial doubles specialist Rohan Bopanna, India will have their work cut out in the first round of the World Group in the 2011 Davis Cup. India, who qualified for the World Group for the second consecutive year running after a brilliant comeback win against the fancied Brazilians in Chennai last September, could not have asked for a tougher draw as they were drawn to face defending champions Serbia on the hard courts of the Spens Sports Center in the northern Serbian city of Novi Sad.

Both teams have suffered from late withdrawals, with world no.3 and Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic opting to sit this tie out for Serbia, while India's lead doubles pairing Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi have also pulled out citing injuries.


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