Davis Cup final: Australia, Spain to clash

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/images/thumbnail/ver1/g/genericportrait.jpg' class='caption'> Australia and Spain will renew hostilities in the Davis Cup final in Melbourne on Friday.

Updated: February 25, 2007 09:48 IST
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Australia and Spain will renew hostilities in the Davis Cup final in Melbourne on Friday. Relations between the two teams have been strained since they met in the 2000 final in Barcelona. Australia felt the full force of 15,000 Spanish supporters at the Palau Sant Jordi, with Lleyton Hewitt accusing the hosts of inciting the crowd into unruly behaviour. The Australians were destroyed 4-1 - but now the men down under are looking for revenge. Mark Philippoussis will face Carlos Moya in his singles match on the opening day, with Lleyton Hewitt first out on court against Juan Carlos Ferrero. The 22-year-old has not played competitively since the Davis Cup semi-final win over Switzerland in September - saving his all for this showdown. "I'm the only person who was in the team who was there in Barcelona from the Australian side. This is in a different country. There have been a lot of matches since then and for us it's just a Davis Cup final and we want to get our hands on that cup," said Lleyton Hewitt. Australia will start as clear favourites, as not only do they have home advantage but the choice of grass as the surface will clearly help them. Spanish coach Jordi Arrese was expected to play Feliciano Lopez because of his superior performances on grass - but instead opted for Carlos Moya, who has not played on the surface since June 2002. French Open champion Ferrero admits that his team has a battle on their hands. "Yeah, of course we are worried about the Aussie guys, because they are the specialists on grass and we never play that good on grass. But this time we are going to try and do our best and fight a lot," said Ferrero. Saturday's doubles rubber will see Wayne Arthurs and Todd Woodbridge take on Alex Corretja and Feliciano Lopez. The reverse singles on Sunday will pit Ferrero against Philippoussis whilst Moya and Hewitt will close what is sure to be a tense tussle. (AP)

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