Cordoba (Spain): Rafael Nadal will kick off Spain`s Davis Cup semifinal bid when he takes on France`s Richard Gasquet in Friday`s opening rubber.
The Spanish are favourites with two top five ranked players in Nadal and David Ferrer as they bid to reach the final for the third time in four years in Cordoba`s bullring.
France, runners-up last year, are hoping to follow on from their 5-0 whitewash over Spain in last year`s World Group quarterfinals.
US Open runner-up Nadal and Gasquet have played nine times but the 15th-ranked Frenchman has never come out on top against the world number two.
Fifth-ranked Ferrer takes on Simon, ranked 11, in Friday`s second rubber.
The Spaniard leads 2-1 in previous meetings, with both coming on clay, but Simon won their last meeting on a hard court in Cincinnati this year.
Spanish doubles specialists Feliciano Lopez and Fernando Verdasco are scheduled to face Michael Llodra and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in Saturday`s doubles rubber.
Friday (from 10:00 GMT):
Rafael Nadal (ESP) vs Richard Gasquet (FRA)
David Ferrer (ESP) vs Gilles Simon (FRA)
Feliciano Lopez/Fernando Verdasco (ESP) vs Jo-Wilfried Tsonga/Michael Llodra (FRA)
Rafael Nadal (ESP) vs Gilles Simon (FRA)
David Ferrer (ESP) vs Richard Gasquet (FRA)
First Published: Thursday, September 15, 2011, 18:56