Bopanna to open India’s Davis Cup campaign

April 10th, 2008 - 2:53 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, April 10 (IANS) Clearing doubts about his fitness, Rohan Bopanna will open India’s campaign in the crucial Asia-Oceania Group I second round Davis Cup tie here against Japanese Kei Nishikori Friday. Bopanna, ranked 325 in the world, will face Nishikori in the first singles. India’s number one Prakash Amritraj will take on second best Japanese player Go Soeda in the second match Friday, according to the draw here Thursday.

Much to the delight of India tennis fans, the duo of Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi will team up in the doubles Saturday when they face Takao Suzuki and Satoshi Iwabuchi.

Bopanna, who was nursing an inflamed left knee till Wednesday, will have his task cut out against Davis Cup debutant Nishikori, who has an ATP win under his belt.

Nishikori became the first Japanese player to win an ATP event in 16 years when he shocked top seed and the then world number 12 James Blake in the Delray Beach International final in February.

In the reverse singles Sunday, Amritraj will be up against Nishikori while Bopanna, ranked 325 in the world, will face 156th ranked Soeda.

“I am playing in the first match means I have recovered from the injury, otherwise my name would not have been there,” said Bopanna, who pulled out of the ITF Challenger final in Chandigarh last week because of the injury.

“We have got the home advantage in our favour. I always prefer to start first up on Friday,” he added.

India’s Davis Cup captain Paes also expressed satisfaction with the draw. “The draw has worked out well. Rohan always starts first for us and he was pretty adamant to do that.

“But there would not have been much difference if Prakash would have started. Till now everything has gone well and its time for us to perform over the next three days.”

Nishikori said: “I am little nervous but I am glad to play the first match of my Davis Cup.”

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