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Finalists Spain to face Serbia in 2009 Davis Cup opener

Text by AFP

Latest update : 2008-12-10

This year's Davis Cup finalists Spain were handed a tough draw for the 2009 edition, where they will face Serbia in the 1st round. Fellow finalists Argentina take on the Netherlands, while Switzerland fly to the US for another mouthwatering clash.

Spain will host Serbia and fellow finalists Argentina will take on the Netherlands in first round Davis Cup world group action following Tuesday's draw for the 2009 edition.
The Spaniards, champions in 2000 and 2004 and led by world number one Rafael Nadal, will face two-time runners-up Argentina, bolstered by teenage star Juan Martin del Potro, in the November 21-23 final.
But already their rivals have an eye on the new season - particularly the United States, beaten by Spain in last weekend's semi-final in Madrid.
Team USA, with a record 32 wins, will have home advantage as they take on Roger Federer's Switzerland, the 1992 runners-up.
With his packed schedule Federer often skips the opening round action but may be persuaded to make an exception this time with compatriot Stanislas Wawrinka looking a strong teammate.
A factor which could persuade Federer, dethroned this season by Nadal as world number one, to join the fray is that the ATP has decreed that rankings points will be available.
Nadal and co will meanwhile not be able to count any chickens against a Serb side led by world number three Novak Djokovic, who is backed by 43rd-ranked Janko Tipsarevic and doubles world number two Nenad Zimonjic.
France, whose ninth and most recent crown came in 2001, travel to the Czech Republic, winners as the old Czechoslovakia in 1980, while the most recent winners from eastern Europe, 2005 champions Croatia, host a Chilean side fresh from defeating Australia in their playoff.
Russia, twice champions since the turn of the millennium but beaten by the Argentines last weekend in their semi, travel to Romania, who proved too strong this month for India.
Three-times champions Germany, who have faded since the era of Boris Becker and Michael Stich, face neighbouring Austria after the latter ended Britain's hopes of a berth while seven-times winner Sweden receive Israel.
The great absentees are Australia, 28-time winners but who were condemned to another season in the Asia/Oceania zone after losing their weekend play-off to Chile in Antofogasta.
First round action will take place between March 6 and 8, a month later than usual, while the quarter-finals will be held on July 10 to 12 ahead of the semis and playoffs on September 18-20 with the trophy match on December 4 to 6.


World Group draw:
Argentina v Netherlands
Czech Republic v France
United States v Switzerland
Croatia v Chile
Sweden v Israel
Romania v Russia
Germany v Austria
Spain v Serbia

Date created : 2008-09-23