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Roddick vs Massu to open US-Chile Davis Cup match
SANTIAGO, CHILE (AP) - The U.S. Davis Cup team is still considered the favorite against Chile despite playing on a clay surface in the first-round Davis Cup series.
The Americans feature No. 8 Andy Roddick, No. 32 John Isner and the top-ranked doubles team of Bob and Mike Bryan. Jim Courier, a four-time Grand Slam champion, will make his debut as captain.
None of the Chileans playing at Estadio Nacional Court Central this weekend are ranked in the top 150. Fernando Gonzalez, Chile's most accomplished player and a former top-10 star, is sidelined with a hip injury.
Roddick will face 241st-ranked Nicolas Massu in the opening match on Friday. The draw, held Thursday, also featured Isner against 165th-ranked Paul Capdeville in second singles.
Roddick returns after taking a year off Davis Cup competition.
"I did miss it," Roddick said. "I missed these guys, the competition and the spirit of it all. It's a big reason why I came back and the opportunity to play for Jim was a big factor."
The doubles on Saturday will pit the Bryan brothers against Jorge Aguilar and Massu. Reverse singles on Sunday will feature Roddick facing Capdeville followed by Massu and Isner.
The Americans hold a 4-0 record against Chile in Davis Cup.
Courier played on the 1992 and 1995 U.S. Davis Cup winning teams. He believes his team can deal with the clay and being away from home.
"Going in and playing an away tie is always a challenge," Courier said. "The one thing about the Davis Cup is that the home team has the advantage of setting the conditions as they like. And the altitude here helps us as we have four great servers on this team.
"We're not expecting it to be easy, but as far as the conditions go we're comfortable."
Longtime Chile captain Hans Gildemeister says the Americans have the advantage, but was hopeful that the home crowd and clay court help his team.
"I think the pressure is on America, and I hope tomorrow they are going to feel the pressure on the court," Gildemeister said. "I hope that tomorrow will be very competitive. And we all know the pressure of playing Davis Cup is very different than playing on the ATP Tour.
"The Americans need to beat us. They have the better rankings, they have a great team, and we are the underdog. I like that."
By Emily Miller
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