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Davis Cup play-off: Yuki meets Rosol in opening singles

Source: PTI
Last updated on: September 17, 2015 18:27 IST

1st singles: Yuki Bhambri vs Lukas Rosol

2nd singles: Somdev Devvarman vs Jiri Vesley

Doubles: Leander Paes-Rohan Bopanna vs Radek Stepanek-Adam Pavlasek

The Czech Republic's Radek Stepanek spar with Leander Paes

IMAGE: The Czech Republic's Radek Stepanek, left, with India's Leander Paes at the draw ceremony for the Davis Cup World Group play-off match, which begins, in Delhi, on Friday. Photograph: PTI

Yuki Bhambri, the country’s No 1 singles player, will open India's Davis Cup campaign when he takes on world No 85 Lukas Rosol in the first singles of the World Group play-off match against the Czech Republic, in Delhi, on Friday.

Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitely picked the slip bearing Yuki's name at the draw ceremony, which was also attended by Sports Minister Sarbananda Sonowal apart from AITA and ITF officials.

The second singles will be played between India No 2 Somdev Devvarman, ranked 164, and Czech No 1 Jiri Vesley, ranked 40.

On Saturday, the Indian team of Leander Paes and Rohan Bopanna will fight it out with Radek Stepanek and Adam Pavlasek.

The reverse singles will be played on Sunday.

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Yuki, who had stated that he would prefer playing in cooler conditions, said, "I want to make a good start and put the Czechs under pressure. I can play freely at 0-0."

The Czech Republic and India Davis Cup teams

IMAGE: The Czech Republic and India teams at the draw ceremony for the Davis Cup World Group play-off match, in New Delhi, on Thursday. Photograph: PTI

India’s captain, Anand Amirtraj, said the draw has come out "the way we wanted".

"It's slightly easier to play first match and Som has to see and wait how it goes (and plan accordingly)," he added.

Paes, the most experienced player in the team, said the Indians must capitalise on the hot conditions but have their own individual style of doing it.

"If we can be 1-0 up or one-all, it makes the doubles very, very important. This tie is going to be very, very difficult considering that we are playing against the two-times champions. Both Yuki and Somdev have their work cut out. Yuki has been playing well in the last few weeks. It's going to be hot and we have to capitalise on this.

"Every player has his own individual style of preparing for matches. It is not necessary that what works for me will work for Somdev. We have developed our own styles how to handle the heat and stay away from cramping. Davis Cup is five-set matches. That's not an easy task. The boys have to keep hydrating," said Paes, who is the fourth most successful player in the Davis Cup history with 89 victories.

He also said it will be "interesting for me to see what is the strategy whether to play long rallies or finish the points early".

Vesley is yet to win a live singles rubber but Somdev said that does not make the Czech a lesser player.

"He is top-50. I don't see him an inexperienced player by any means. It's going be tricky. He is pretty solid."

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