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Powerful Spain plays Davis Cup at Belgium

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Spain's Rafael Nadal, shown celebrating one of his three Grand Slam titles in 2010, will be n a very strong Spanish team that is being sent to Belgium for a Davis Cup series this weekend. UPI/Hugo Philpott | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/95ab5a544f0b3b424bf43b253f278e12/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
Spain's Rafael Nadal, shown celebrating one of his three Grand Slam titles in 2010, will be n a very strong Spanish team that is being sent to Belgium for a Davis Cup series this weekend. UPI/Hugo Philpott | License Photo

CHARLEROI, Belgium, March 3 (UPI) -- World No. 1 Rafael Nadal, out since injuring a leg in the Australian Open, returns to play this weekend in a Davis Cup series in Belgium.

Nadal tops a very strong Spanish team that includes No. 6-ranked David Ferrer and Nadal handling the singles matches while world No. 9 Fernando Verdasco and 40th-ranked Feliciano Lopez will play the doubles match.

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Xavier Malisse is the highest-ranked Belgian player in the draw and he's No. 51.

Nadal hasn't played since a leg injury suffered in the Australian Open quarterfinals while playing Ferrer but is said to be in good shape for Davis Cup.

Ferrer and Malisse open the best-of-series on an indoor hard court -- Belgium avoided the clay court on which the Spaniards especially excel -- in Charleroi, Belgium. Nadal's first match will be against Ruben Bemelmans.

Verdasco and Lopez will team against Malisse and Olivier Rochus for Saturday's doubles match with Sunday calling for reverse singles as Malisse meets Nadal and Bemelmans plays Ferrer.

Spain had won four Davis Cup titles since 2000, including back-to-back in 2008-09. The Spaniards also finished second in 2003. Belgium's Davis Cup heyday came a century earlier, when it finished second in 1904.The Belgians' best recent finish was as a semifinalist in 1999.

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The draw sends the Belgium-Spain victor to the quarterfinals in July against either Chile or the United States.

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