Van der Merwe, Devvarman open Davis Cup clash

THE draw for the Davis Cup World Group playoff between South Africa and India was conducted at the Ellis Park Indoor Arena in Johannesburg yesterday.

THE draw for the Davis Cup World Group playoff between South Africa and India was conducted at the Ellis Park Indoor Arena in Johannesburg yesterday.

South Africa's Izak van der Merwe will play the first match against Somdev Devvarman at noon today. The doubles kicks off tomorrow at 1pm with a match between Jeff Coetzee and Wesley Moodie against India's Mahesh Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna .

Rik de Voest will play Devvarman and Van der Merwe will face Bopanna on Sunday, starting at noon.

India team captain Shiv Prakash Misra said his players were looking forward to a good tournament.

"What is important for us is to win these three matches. I'm not worried about the altitude at all," Misra said. He said he hoped the Indian cricket team would arrive to support them.

His South African counterpart, John Laffnie de Jager, looking relaxed, said they were under no pressure going into the matches as hosts.

"I think if the team handles the pressure well then we can go far. It certainly helps playing at home, but I'd say India are the favourites," he said.

He admitted that the whole team was disappointed that Kevin Anderson will not take part in this highly anticipated tie. Anderson asked not to be considered for the playoff, citing personal reasons.

Moodie and Coetzee also said they were feeling no pressure ahead of tomorrow's contest.

"There is no pressure at all playing with Jeff," Moodie said. "But it's not going to be easy, especially against Bopanna, because with him you never know what to expect. He is unpredictable."

Though they are not expecting a full house, the event's organisers said ticket sales have been good.

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