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Davis Cup: India face tough battle against Czech Republic

India <g data-gr-id="15">are</g> expected to face a tough battle when they take on <g data-gr-id="16">Czech Republic</g> in the Davis Cup World Group play-off at the RK Khanna Stadium on Friday. With a spot in the elite World Group at stake, the hosts have been boosted by the return of old warhorse Leander Paes. 

Paes, who has won three Grand Slam titles this year, is in red-hot form. His presence will be a huge boost for the hosts, who were extremely close to achieving promotion but were edged out in a deciding fifth rubber by Serbia in last year’s play-offs. They last time they were in the World Group was in 2011. The Indians will also bank on home conditions with the Delhi heat putting the Czechs in obvious discomfort <g data-gr-id="14">duirng</g> their practice sessions over the past couple of days.

The visitors have left their highest ranked player world No.6 Thomas Berdych at home, but still pack enough firepower to be considered overwhelming favourites to emerge <g data-gr-id="17">triumphant</g> and retain their spot in the World Group. The top seeds, who have won the Davis Cup thrice in the past, lost 2-3 to Australia at home in March while the home team are going into the tie after winning 3-2 against New Zealand. 

Bhambri to start Davis Cup campaign
India’s top singles player Yuki Bhambri will start the proceedings in the Davis Cup World Group Play-off against the Czech Republic at the Delhi Lawn Tennis Association (DLTA) complex on Friday. India’s highest-ranked player at No125, Bhambri was drawn against Lukas Rosol in the first singles with Somdev Devvarman locking horns against Jiri <g data-gr-id="51">Veseley</g> in the second singles. On Saturday, Indian aces Rohan Bopanna and Leander Paes will go up against Adam Pavlasek and Radek Stepanek in the lone doubles rubber.
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