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Somdev leading Davis Cup charge

Somdev Devvarman will take on Yuichi Sugita in Friday’s opening singles match as India begin their quest to retain the World Group berth against Japan in the David Cup play-off at the Ariake Colosseum in Tokyo.

sports Updated: Sep 16, 2011 01:08 IST

Somdev Devvarman will take on Yuichi Sugita in Friday’s opening singles match as India begin their quest to retain the World Group berth against Japan in the David Cup play-off at the Ariake Colosseum in Tokyo.

In the second singles, Rohan Bopanna will take on Japan’s top player Kei Nishikori, who is the highest-ranked player in the tie at 55.

With Leander Paes missing in action due to injury, India captain Shiv-Prakash Misra selected Mahesh Bhupathi and Vishnu Vardhan to take the court in doubles against Nishikori and Go Soeda on Saturday. "We will do our best without Leander," Misra said.

India were forced to play in the play-offs yet again after they lost to defending champions and top seeds Serbia 4-1 in the first round of the http://www.hindustantimes.com/images/HTPopups/160911/16_09_11-metro19d.jpgWorld Group at Novi Sad in March.

The India team reached Japan on Sunday and has had a decent hit on the hard courts here. "We've been working hard. The team was here about a week early to acclimatise and gear up for the tie. It should be good," Somdev said.

Nadal, Djoko gear up

With precious little time to rest after their brutal US Open final, world number one Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal will be energised by national pride this weekend as they lead their countries into battle in the Davis Cup semi-finals.

Djokovic will enjoy a deafening reception in the cavernous Belgrade Arena where Serbia host Argentina.

In Cordoba, Nadal will have the perfect stage to vent the frustration of his defeat by Djokovic, as Spain host last year's runners-up France seeking to banish the memory of a 5-0 loss last year.