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Nalbandian leads Argentina against Britain

The ninth-ranked Nalbandian is 12-3 in Davis Cup singles, while Britain has the disadvantage of playing without the injured Andy Murray.
By HT Correspondent | AP, Argentina
UPDATED ON FEB 07, 2008 10:36 PM IST

David Nalbandian will take on Jamie Baker in the opening singles match Friday when Argentina hosts Britain in the first round of the Davis Cup.

The ninth-ranked Nalbandian, who led Argentina to the 2006 final, is 12-3 in Davis Cup singles, while Britain has the disadvantage of playing without the injured Andy Murray.

In the second singles match of the best-of-five series, Agustin Calleri will play Alec Bogdanovic on the outdoor clay at the 14,500-seat Parque Roca tennis stadium.

"Although everyone says the draw favors us, it depends on certain results and the players remaining healthy," Argentina captain Alberto Mancini said Thursday.

In Saturday's doubles, Nalbandian and Jose Acasuso will play Jamie Murray and Ross Hutchins. Sebastian Prieto, however, could replace Nalbandian depending on Friday's match.

The reverse singles are set for Sunday.

"It's a strange tie because the difference in the rankings of the players is very big," Mancini said. "My players are not relaxed and we will try to wrap up the tie as quickly as possible." Britain captain John Lloyd was impressed with the red clay court, but he said he was hoping for some cooler weather. "It's been very hot but we read in the forecasts that the temperature will drop in the next few days," Lloyd said. "If it rains, we will feel really at home."

The winner will play either at Israel or against Sweden in the quarterfinals. Sweden beat Argentina in quarterfinals last year.

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