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Ljubicic Makes History at Davis Cup Finals


The Davis Cup is under way in Bratislava, Slovakia, with Croatia's Ivan Ljubicic making history in the first rubber. The Croat's 6-3, 6-4, 6-3 win over Karol Kucera makes him the first player in the 25-year history of the Davis Cup's world group to win 10 live matches in a year.

Compared to his exploits against Andre Agassi, Andy Roddick and Nikolay Davydenko earlier in the year, this was one of the easy ones.

He was due to face Slovakia's number two, Karol Beck, but Beck had not sounded confident of his injured knee when he was nominated on Thursday, and on Friday morning he was withdrawn with three hours notice with obligatory medical certificate, his place taken by the 31-year-old Karol Kucera playing his last event before retirement.

Though the Slovak put up a reasonable showing for one ranked 297th, he profited from some Ljubicic nerves early on and once the ninth-ranked Croat got his game going, there was only going to be one winner.

Slovakia's chances now depend heavily on Dominik Hrbaty beating Mario Ancic in the second of the opening day's singles.

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