Czechs begin Davis Cup title defense in Switzerland

Jan. 31, 2013 at 7:18 AM
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GENEVA, Switzerland, Jan. 31 (UPI) -- Stanislas Wawrinka was given the leadoff spot for Switzerland in a first-round series this weekend against defending Davis Cup champion Czech Republic.

The 2013 Davis Cup tournament begins this week with eight best-of-five series. The winner of the Swiss-Czech series advances to the quarterfinals April 5-7 against either Austria or Kazakhstan.

The series is set for an indoor hard court in Geneva.

The Swiss will be without their most famous player as No. 2-ranked Roger Federer is sitting out at least the first-round series. It is unclear if he would make himself available if the Swiss advance.

The Czech Republic last year won its first Davis Cup basically going with Tomas Berdych and Radek Stepanek in singles and using those same players in the doubles match. They each won a singles match and took doubles in a 3-2 win over Spain in the 2012 final.

But Stepanek is out this week due to a bad back so Wawrinka, ranked 17th, will go against world No. 73 Lukas Rosol in Friday's series opener. Berdych, No. 6 in the world, takes on No. 289-ranked Henri Laaksonen in the second singles match.

The Czechs have penciled in Ivo Minar and Jiri Vesely for Saturday's doubles against Swiss players Marco Chiudinelli and Michael Lammer.

Sunday's reverse singles open with Berdych going against Wawrinka with Rosol and Laaksonen scheduled for the final match.

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