Davis Cup final: host Argentina starts favourite

MAR DEL PLATA (Argentina): Argentina’s chances of beating Spain in the Davis Cup final are better than ever with the absence of top-ranked Rafael Nadal, but the players know that being the favourites in front of a demanding home crowd could also work against them.

“This is such a dream for all of us that it’s possible that the anxiety, stress and nerves play against you,” said Juan Martin del Potro, Argentina’s top-ranked player for the final, which starts on Friday.

Passionate experience

“I would like to keep myself on the sidelines of what all this means because it’s such a passionate experience,” said the 20-year-old del Potro, who will team with David Nalbandian, Jose Acasuso and Agustin Calleri for the best-of-five tie.

Marcel Granollers, David Ferrer, Fernando Verdasco and Feliciano Lopez will represent Spain. The final starts on Friday with a pair of singles matches. The doubles match is scheduled for Saturday, and the reverse singles will be on Sunday.

Nalbandian is expected to play Ferrer on Friday, but Argentina captain Alberto Mancini said that he didn’t have a preference who del Potro faces — Lopez or Verdasco.

“The good thing is they’re both left handed,” Mancini said.

The hard court that Argentina chose for the final is just where the host team wants it to be after various adjustments, Mancini said.

Argentina also has an added advantage as host — the team hasn’t lost in 13 straight series at home. — AP

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