Injury-free Nadal to play Belgium in Davis Cup

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CHARLEROI, BELGIUM (AP) - Top-ranked Rafael Nadal will play Ruben Bemelmans in Friday’s Davis Cup series between Spain and Belgium in his first match since injuring his thigh at the Australian Open.

Nadal injured his left thigh in the loss to David Ferrer in the Australian Open quarterfinals. After practice on Thursday, Nadal said he’s “perfect.”

Bemelmans is ranked 144th and lost in straight sets to Nadal last year in Bangkok.

Sixth-ranked Ferrer will play the opening match against Xavier Malisse on the hard court of the 6,500-capacity arena in Charleroi, Belgium.

The 51st-ranked Malisse is the only Belgian player ranked in the top 100, while Spain has three in the top 10, including No. 9 Fernando Verdasco.

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