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Wednesday, May 24th

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Davis Cup

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.

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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.

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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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Djokovic, Troicki lead Serbia to first ever Davis Cup crown

djokovic_winsNovak Djokovic and Victor Troicki won both reverse singles rubbers in straight sets to lead Serbia to a historic Davis Cup win against France. The win makes Serbia the thirteenth nation to have won the prestigious team championships and adds a much deserved feather in the cap of the diminutive nation which has repeatedly produced world class tennis players through the last decade.

With the French pair of Michael Llodra and Arnaud Clement winning the doubles rubber with a crackling comeback on Saturday, the Serbs not only found themselves under intense pressure heading into Sunday, but were also a little shell shocked at having lost a match they had in the bag. With Novak Djokovic stepping on court first, he did what he has done all week without much fuss - step it up when it was needed the most. In his match against France's top player, Gael Monfils; Djokovic repeated what has been the norm in the pair's last five matches. The world number three won 6-2, 6-2, 6-4, thus leveling the tie at 2-2.

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Llodra - Clement cap remarkable comeback to put France 2-1 ahead in Davis Cup Final

arnaud_clementA fantastic day of Davis Cup Doubles set-up the perfect finale in Belgrade as France produced a dramatic come from behind win to spoil Serbia's hopes of becoming the sixth nation to win the Davis Cup on their finals debut. The men in blue, represented by 2007 Wimbledon champions Michael Llodra and Arnaud Clement, produced a terrific comeback to stun the Serbian pair of Nenad Zimonjic and Victor Troicki  3-6, 6-7(3), 6-4, 7-5, 6-4 in a near 5 hour battle royale. France have thus taken a 2-1 lead in the Davis Cup rubber, and will be favourites to reclaim the title come the reverse singles on Sunday.

Serbia came into the Doubles tie as undoubtedly the underdogs as Zimonjic and Troicki rarely play together, either on the ATP Tour or for their country. The selection of Troicki was a bit of a surprise given world no.3 Novak Djokovic's availability for this match, considering his easy straight sets win in the second singles on Friday.

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