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Rookie Querrey to face Nadal.

9/18/2008 1:39:30 PM

Davis Cup debutant Sam Querrey faces a baptism of fire in Friday's semi-final opener after drawing world number one Rafael Nadal on clay in front of 21,000 spectators in Madrid's Las Ventas bullring.

"I can go out there and make faces but there's not much more I can do," Querrey said after the draw.

"I have to play aggressive, connect with some big serves and dictate the points," added the 20-year-old, who lost 6-2 5-7 7-6 6-3 to Nadal in the fourth round at this year's US Open.

Big challenge

Querrey, who at two metres towers over Nadal, was called into the squad by US captain Patrick McEnroe after an exhausted James Blake withdrew, which further stacked the odds against the champions.

"I actually think it's good that Sam's playing first," said McEnroe.

"He doesn't have to sit in the locker room listening to 20,000 people whistling".

Roddick v Ferrer

In the second match of the day, American Andy Roddick, the world number eight, plays fifth-ranked David Ferrer and the Spaniard forecast a difficult match.

"The key is going to be returning the ball. It's going to be a long game," said the Valencia-born 26-year-old.

Public spat

The host team's opposition to playing in Madrid, with its faster courts at 660 metres above sea level, has led to a public spat with Spanish tennis federation chairman Pedro Munoz.

However, Roddick played down the effect of altitude on the specially-built clay court.

"It's not a slow clay court but it's not the fastest I've seen either," said the big-serving American who during his career has won two out of three of his clay court matches and five titles on the red dust.

"If I'm playing well, I feel good on clay.

"I've been hitting the ball really well this week, I feel good".

Doubles draw

Saturday's doubles had offered the United States its best chance of a point but Spain's Fernando Verdasco and Feliciano Lopez have a better chance following injury to Bob Bryan, one half of the world's top-ranked doubles pair.

With Bryan's late withdrawal, twin brother Mike will play Saturday's match with US Open quarter-finalist Mardy Fish.

Mike Bryan said despite not playing with anyone but Bob in six years, training was going well as he and Fish worked on routines and signals.

"Bob should be worried," he joked.

Reverse singles

Roddick will play Nadal in the first of the reverse singles on Sunday.

The Spaniard has a 3-2 career record against him, followed by Querrey against Ferrer as Spain seek to repeat their 2004 victory over the US in Seville.

Russia v Argentina

David Nalbandian will kick off their Davis Cup semifinals against Russian Igor Andreev, followed by the second match between Juan Martin del Potro against world No. 6 Nikolay Davydenko.

Argentine team captain Alberto Mancini had already said in a surprise announcement earlier this week that 7th-ranked Nalbandian and del Potro would lead Argentina against Russia in the semifinals.

Saturday's doubles match in Buenos Aires will be played by Argentines Agustin Calleri and Guillermo Canas against Igor Kunitsyn and Dimitry Tursunov.

The duos are tentative, since the captains can changes the players up to an hour before the match.

Argentina lost to Russia in the Davis Cup final in 2006.

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Publication:Aljazeera.net
Date:Sep 20, 2008
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