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Nadal and Verdasco back for Davis Cup final

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Originally published on: 26/02/10 11:50

Rafael Nadal and Fernando Verdasco are set to return to Spain’s Davis Cup squad for the final against the Czech Republic, boosting the defending champion’s hopes of defending their crown.

David Ferrer and Feliciano Lopez complete the four-man team announced today by captain Albert Costa for the December 4-6 tie in Barcelona. The hosts will be chasing a fourth title in ten years, and their first successful title defence.

Nadal, heading to the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals with a paper-thin chance of regaining the world No.1 spot from Roger Federer, has not played for his country since facing Serbia in March after a season blighted by injury.

The Mallorcan, who also missed last year’s Davis Cup final in Argentina, missed both the quarter-final against Germany in July and September’s last-four clash against Israel due to injury.

“The Davis Cup is my main objective remaining for the year,” Nadal said on Sunday.

“To play in the Palau Sant Jordi, where I carried the team flag in 2000, and experience that now as a player and not a spectator will be a marvellous experience.”

World No.8 Verdasco, who is also London-bound this week, missed the semi-final through injury as Costa showcased Spain’s strength in depth, cruising to victory despite the absence of its top-ranked duo.

The final will take place indoors on clay at the Palau Sant Jordi in Barcelona, scene of the first of Spain’s three Davis Cup triumphs when a team featuring Costa defeated Australia in 2000.

Victory against the United States followed in Seville in 2004, before Spain claimed a third title – ad first outside of Spain – against Argentina in Mar del Plata in 2008.

While Spain boasts 11 players in the top 100, the Czechs will be relying on Radek Stepanek and Tomas Berdych, currently ranked No.12 and No.20 in the world.

Spain could become the first team to retain the Davis Cup since Sweden in 1998. The squad are undefeated at home in 17 ties and have not lost on clay in 19.

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