Nadal to open for Spain against France

Nadal to open for Spain against France

Four days after losing the U.S. Open final, Rafael Nadal will play for Spain in Friday’s opening singles match of the Davis Cup semifinal against France.

By (AP)

Published: Thu 15 Sep 2011, 8:24 PM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 10:14 AM

With Nadal ready to go, Spain is favored to bounce back from last year’s 5-0 loss to France at Clermont-Ferrand and extend its record run of 19 straight home wins that dates back to 1999.

Spain was without Nadal for last year’s matchup with the French, and now France is missing its top-ranked player, Gael Monfils, who is out injured.

“Clearly, last year we were affected by the loss, but we don’t come here looking for revenge,” Spain captain Albert Costa said at Wednesday’s draw. “The loss of Monfils is important because he is very good player on clay, but they have a very good team.”

Nadal, who lost to Novak Djokovic in New York in four sets on Monday, will open play Friday against Richard Gasquet. Spain’s second-ranked player, David Ferrer, then takes on Gilles Simon in the second singles match on the clay court in the Los Califas bull ring.

Nadal has said he is tired after rushing home following the U.S. Open, but he holds a 9-0 head-to-head record against Gasquet.

France captain Guy Forget made the surprise move of keeping his top-ranked player, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, out of the singles. He will play in Saturday’s doubles with Michael Llodra against Spain’s pair of Fernando Verdasco and Feliciano Lopez.

Tsonga, a Wimbledon semifinalist this year, was expected to play Nadal in a highly anticipated match of the two team’s best players.

On Sunday, Nadal is set to play Simon while Ferrer takes on Gasquet in the reverse singles.

Even with Nadal at less than 100 percent, Spain team enters the series in excellent form.

The Spaniards didn’t miss Nadal in the quarterfinals when Ferrer and Lopez led their country to its first ever win on U.S. soil in Austin, Texas.

Defending champion Serbia is playing Argentina in Belgrade in the other semifinal.

Home wins by Spain and Serbia would set up a possible rematch of Nadal and Djokovic in the final.

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