Safin to play doubles for Russia

Updated: July 9, 2009, 11:54 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

JERUSALEM -- Russia's Marat Safin will not play singles matches in the Davis Cup quarterfinal against Israel.

In Thursday's draw, Russian coach Shamil Tarpischev decided to play Safin in doubles, alongside Igor Kunitsyn. Igor Andreev and Mikhail Youzhny will play the singles matches.

Safin says he respected the decision.

"It is important not to take chances but to play with the best combination," Safin said. "I felt like I wasn't in the best shape right now, so I needed some extra days to get ready."

The 29-year-old Russian, who plans to retire this year, is ranked 60th after losing in the first round of Wimbledon.

Friday's opening match will feature Andreev, ranked 24th, against 210th-ranked Israeli Harel Levy.

Spain faces Germany without Nadal, Ferrer

MADRID -- Davis Cup defending champion Spain will play without injured Rafael Nadal and David Ferrer when it faces Germany in the quarterfinals.

Nadal was ruled out with knee tendinitis, which kept him out of the championship matches last year against Argentina. Ferrer is out with a muscle strain.

Fernando Verdasco will play Andreas Beck and Tommy Robredo will face Philipp Kohlschreiber in Friday's opening matches.

In Saturday's doubles, Verdasco returns to partner with Feliciano Lopez against Nicolas Kiefer and Mischa Zverev. Reverse singles on Sunday closes out the contest at the 12,000-capacity Puerto Banus bull ring.

Stepanek to play doubles for Czech Republic vs. Argentina

OSTRAVA, Czech Republic -- Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic will face Juan Monaco of Argentina in the opening singles match of the Davis Cup quarterfinals series.

Thursday's draw also put Ivo Minar, who replaced Radek Stepanek in the singles competition, against Juan Martin Del Potro on indoor carpet at CEZ Arena.

Stepanek was ruled out of singles because of a knee injury he suffered at Wimbledon last week, but he will play doubles on Saturday with Lukas Dlouhy. They will face Del Potro and Leonardo Mayer.

The winner of the best-of-five series will face the United States or Croatia in the semifinal in September.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.