Davis Cup tennis action underway

Rosset (left) was named alongside Federer, Bastl and Manta by Swiss captain Jakob Hlasek (right) Keystone

Switzerland and France are battling it out in the quarterfinals of the Davis Cup. The action began in the Swiss town of Neuchatel on Friday with a singles match between Marc Rosset and the top French seed, Arnaud Clément.

This content was published on April 6, 2001 - 15:58

Rosset was only formally named to the Swiss line-up on Thursday, although his inclusion had been expected. Davis Cup captain Jakob Hlasek said he had never questioned Rosset's suitability, despite the player's terrible form this season.

"Marc has worked well since his return from (the ATP tournament in) Key Biscayne," Hlasek said. "His tennis is there. It's only a matter of self-belief now."

Alongside Rosset, Hlasek named Roger Federer, George Bastl and Lorenzo Manta to his squad. Friday's second singles match will see Federer, the Swiss number one, taking on Nicolas Escudé, whose selection in the French squad came at the expense of world number 13, Sébastien Grosjean.

Following Friday's singles, Federer is set to join up with Manta to dispute Saturday's doubles rubber with Cedric Pioline and Fabrice Santoro.

In terms of world ranking places, Switzerland are clearly the underdogs for this weekend's tie. The French side, which blasted Belgium 5-0 in the first round, have two players in Clément and Pioline ranked higher than Federer while all four men on the French team are currently ranked above Rosset.

However, home advantage and the choice of playing surface could help to even the balance. In Manta, Switzerland also have a highly capable doubles specialist, who has won his last eight Davis Cup doubles rubbers.

Despite both team's desire to reach the semi-finals, the tie is also expected to be a reasonably good-humoured affair. The players are all well acquainted with each other, while the two captains are long-term friends.

In addition, eight of the 10 men involved have their homes in Switzerland - the only exceptions are Santoro and the Monte-Carlo-based Rosset.

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