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Amritraj to open against Romania No 2

Last updated on: September 18, 2008 21:17 IST

Prakash Amritraj will take on Victor Crivoi in the opening rubber while the in-form Somdev Devvarman faces Romanian No 1 Victor Hanescu in the crucial World Group play-off tie, in Bucharest, which commences on Friday.

With Amritraj struggling for form, young Somdev will have to shoulder a big responsibility and win both his matches while the combo of Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi needs to live up to their reputation against Adrian Cruciat and Horia Tecau in the doubles for India to book a place in the World Group of the Davis Cup.

If Somdev, who has shown an exceptionally good form in the last three months, comes through the rubber against Hanescu, India has a great chance because he plays lower-ranked Crivoi in the reverse singles while Amritraj will be up against Hanescu.

India had defeated Japan in the Asia/Oceania Group semi-finals to earn the right to play in the World Group play-offs while Romania lost to France in first round of World Group to drop to play-offs.

India last played in the World Group in 1998, when it lost to Italy 1-4 on clay in the away tie.

This is the fourth meeting between India and Romania with the hosts leading head-to-head 2-1, having won the last two encounters in 1969 and 1971. India's only victory against Romania came in 1922.

The visitors dropped Rohan Bopanna from the team to include Somdev and have a non-playing captain in S P Mishra, as Paes decided to step down as skipper after the Beijing Olympics.

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