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Israel's David Cup hopes

    Dudi Sela is confident Israel can beat Austria in next week's Davis Cup World Group relegation playoff.

    Having bowed out of the US Open in the second round against 12th seed Mikhael Youzhny, Sela has high hopes ahead of the match at the Nokia Arena in Tel Aviv.

    "If we play good tennis then I think the crowd will make the difference in our favour," Sela said.

    The crucial tie will start a day early to allow Israel's players to observe Yom Kippur. Ian Froman, the head of the Israeli Tennis Federation confirmed that there will be "a 24-hour break".

    Froman said: "Harel Levy and Sela will also have had the Friday off , so they shouldn't struggle too much. There will be nearly 20 hours between the end of the fast and the first of the final day's singles matches."

    Levy (209), Noam Okun (253) and doubles specialists Andy Ram and Jonathan Erlich complete the squad.

    Austria are expected to field Jurgen Melzer (15), Martin Fischer (130), Andreas Maurer (223) and doubles specialist Julian Knowle.

    Froman said: "On paper, the Austrians have the edge as to rankings, but Israel seems to pull out miracles in the Davis Cup and being at home again in the beautiful Nokia stadium and the home crowd advantage, we're obviously are hoping for a win. I believe the result could go either way."

    Ram plays with Knowle on the doubles circuit and the duo were seeded eighth in the US Open where they lost in the first round in an Israeli derby to Jonathan Erlich and Jordan Kerr of Australia. Their joy was shortlived however as they tumbled out in the next round to Jeremy Chardy and Chris Kass.

    Sixteenth seed Shahar Peer bowed out in the fourth round at Flushing Meadows. She was beaten by her nemesis, third seed Venus Williams for the sixth consecutive time. But the Israeli gave a good account of herself, breaking to lead 3-2 in the first set but failed to hold her serve before losing 7-3 in the tie-break. Peer lost the second 6-3.

    Peer said: "Venus usually murders me but this time I played good tennis and it was an evenly fought contest."

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