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Spain set for Argentina clash, without Nadal

Video by FRANCE 24

Text by AFP

Latest update : 2008-11-21

Spain's top player David Ferrer, ranked 12, will face Argentina's most experienced, David Nalbandian, in the Davis Cup opener on Friday. Lopez will face ninth-ranked Juan Martin del Potro in the second of the opening singles.

MAR DEL PLATA - Spain captain Emilio Sanchez Vicario ignored the world rankings as he chose Feliciano Lopez as his second singles player for the Davis Cup final against Argentina, ahead of Fernando Verdasco.

"It has been difficult to take the decision," Sanchez Vicario, missing world number one Rafael Nadal through injury, told reporters after Thursday's draw for the Nov 21-23 final.

"Fernando is a little bit ahead in the rankings but Feliciano has shown a bit more in training."

The draw pitted Spain's top player David Ferrer, ranked 12, against Argentina's most experienced, David Nalbandian, in the opening rubber on Friday.

Lopez will face ninth-ranked Juan Martin del Potro in the second of the opening singles.

Del Potro meets Ferrer followed by Nalbandian against Lopez in Sunday's reverse singles.

Argentina captain Alberto Mancini provisionally chose Jose Acasuso and Agustin Calleri as his pair for Saturday's doubles while his rival went for a Verdasco-Lopez partnership.

The teams can change their doubles partnerships up to one hour before the start.

Argentina, who have never won the Davis Cup and have lost their two previous finals, are favourites as they attempt to chalk up their 14th straight home win, a run going back to 1998. Spain are looking for a third title.

Nalbandian was unbothered as to whom he faced first.

"It's all the same, whether I play first or second, there's no problem," he said, shrugging his shoulders.

"Ferrer is a very complete player, he doesn't have a stroke which stands out as his best, he's very solid on the baseline and he fights for every point.

"I'm going to have to play well to beat him."

Mancini said he was pleased to have the more experienced Nalbandian going first with Del Potro, 20, following.

"David has more experience and has played more games so it's a good draw. We thought they would choose Lopez so it's no surprise to us," he said.

Date created : 2008-11-21

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