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Davis Cup World Group Semi-finals Preview

del Potro, Berdych© AFP/Getty ImagesArgentine Juan Martin del Potro and Czech Tomas Berdych each look to lead their country through to the Davis Cup final. previews the two Davis Cup World Group by BNP Paribas semi-final ties, which begin 14 September 2012.

Gijon, Spain (Clay – Outdoors)

Spain carries the longest home winning streak in Davis Cup World Group history against a hungry American team that’s proven it can win on clay. The Spaniards have not lost at home since a first-round defeat to Brazil in 1999, a run of 23 straight victories, and are bidding to become the sixth team to retain the title after triumphing over Argentina last year. Spain won back-to-back crowns in 2008 and 2009. The USA is looking to reach its first final since capturing the trophy in 2007.

The two nations are tied 5-5 in their head-to-head series, with the away team winning on two occasions. Spain achieved the feat just last year, when they sent the Americans home in a quarter-final tie in Austin, Texas. Ranked No. 1 in the Davis Cup Nations Ranking, Spain beat Kazakhstan 5-0 and Austria 4-1 to reach the semi-finals and has won 25 successive ties on clay since losing to Brazil 13 years ago. The USA impressed in victories on the road, knocking out Switzerland 5-0 and France 3-2 to book their semi-final place.

“For us this is probably the biggest test in Davis Cup tennis, perhaps for any country to come to Spain and beat them on clay,” said USA captain Jim Courier. “But we like our chances. We don’t feel like we’re the favourites, but we feel like we have a chance and that’s the attitude we’ll take to the court.”

David Ferrer will take on Sam Querrey in the opening singles rubber and Nicolas Almagro will battle John Isner in the second rubber on Friday. Marcel Granollers and Marc Lopez are slated to face off against US Open champions Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan in Saturday’s doubles rubber. The Bryans have not lost on clay in Davis Cup action.

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Buenos Aires, Argentina (Clay – Outdoors)

Argentina aims to keep its quest for a first title alive against the Czech Republic. The Argentines are bidding to reach their fifth final and will have history on their side. Their last defeat in a home tie on clay came against the Slovak Republic in 1998, winning 18 of their last 20 ties on the surface overall. The Czech Republic is looking to reach its second final in four appearances, having finished runner-up to Spain in 2009. The Czechs are making their 31st World Group appearance, tied with Sweden and USA for the most among any nation.

The Czech Republic holds a 3-1 head-to-head advantage, winning their latest clash in a 2009 World Group quarter-final tie at home in Ostrava. The two teams have met on three occasions since the introduction of the World Group, with the home team winning all three times. Argentina defeated Germany 4-1 and Croatia 4-1 to move through to their eighth semi-final since 2002. The Czech Republic won home ties against Italy 4-1 and Serbia 4-1 en route to the semi-finals.

Juan Martin del Potro will play Radek Stepanek in the first singles rubber on Friday, while Juan Monaco will meet the in-form Tomas Berdych in the second rubber. Berdych is coming off a semi-final showing at the US Open. On Saturday, Carlos Berlocq and Eduardo Schwank will team up for Argentina against Lukas Rosol and Ivo Minar.

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Davis Cup, Davis Cup Semifinals

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