federer to feature in davis cup

MILAN - Switzerland's Roger Federer has arrived in Genoa and will compete in this weekend's Davis Cup World Group playoff against Italy, the Italian tennis federation said yesterday.

MILAN - Switzerland's Roger Federer has arrived in Genoa and will compete in this weekend's Davis Cup World Group playoff against Italy, the Italian tennis federation said yesterday.

There were doubts about the world No 1's participation after he lost the US Open final to Juan Martin del Potro on Monday.

"Roger Federer has finally been added to the group," a federation statement said.

Meanwhile, the absence of injured Spanish duo Rafael Nadal and Fernando Verdasco has given surprise package Israel hope of sneaking a shock win in their Davis Cup World Group semi-final, starting on Friday.

Israel have already surpassed expectations by reaching the last four for the first time, but champions Spain have won their last 16 home ties. Even without their two leading players they are firm favourites to meet Croatia or the Czech Republic in the final.

"Had Nadal played he certainly would have won both his matches but, nevertheless, every one of their players is better than us on paper," Israeli doubles specialist Andy Ram said ahead of the tie being played on clay.

Croatia, who host the Czechs in Porec, have also opted to play their tie on clay as they seek a repeat of their 2005 triumph and will be boosted by the run of Marin Cilic to the quarterfinals of the US Open.

Spain captain Albert Costa said his side would not be taking the Israelis lightly after they stunned two former champions.

"Of course playing at home we are favourites," Costa said on Tuesday at the resort near Murcia in southern Spain where the three-day tie is being contested.

"But I can only reiterate that we have to be very careful and really work hard to beat Israel, who are in the semis having knocked out Russia and Sweden." - Reuters

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