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Del Potro picked for Davis Cup doubles by Argentina

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PESARO, Italy (AP) Argentina picked Juan Martin del Potro to play doubles against Italy in the Davis Cup quarterfinals from Friday.

It will be Del Potro’s first tie in four years, and his first Davis Cup doubles.

Wrist surgeries have limited his appearances, but he’s finally sustained another comeback which included beating Stan Wawrinka en route to the third round of Wimbledon.

This is his first tie since the 2012 semifinals, and though he has a 12-4 record in the cup, all in singles, he was passed over by Argentina captain Daniel Orsanic, who preferred Federico Delbonis, who will open against Andreas Seppi, and Juan Monaco, playing his first tie in 2 1/2 years, in the singles.

Del Potro was paired on Thursday with Guido Pella, who made his debut in the first-round win over Poland.

Italy has returned to Pesaro’s clay, the site of its first-round sweep of Switzerland. It hopes a six-match winning streak on home soil, going back to 2009, will help carry it to only a second semifinal in 18 years.

Fabio Fognini leads the team, and will oppose his old doubles partner Monaco in the second singles.

Against Del Potro and Pella, Italy has teamed Marco Cecchinato and Paolo Lorenzi, who have never played Davis Cup doubles.

The winner meets Britain or Serbia in the semifinals.

Nadal, Muguruza win ITF player of the year awards

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LONDON — Rafael Nadal and Garbine Muguruza have won the International Tennis Federation’s player of the year awards.

At 31, Nadal becomes the oldest ITF men’s world champion after a season in which he won a 10th French Open and a third U.S. Open.

The Spaniard also became the oldest player to finish the year at No. 1 since the ATP rankings began in 1973.

Muguruza dropped only one set en route to her first Wimbledon title and finished the year at No. 2 behind Simona Halep.

“Becoming ITF world champion in such a competitive year is amazing for me,” said Muguruza, who is also Spanish. “(Nadal) is a great role model for all of us, so it is a great moment for tennis in Spain.”

Kuznetsova out of Australian Open after left wrist surgery

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MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) Two-time major winner Svetlana Kuznetsova has withdrawn from next month’s Australian Open after having surgery on her left wrist.

Tennis Australia on Friday said No. 12-ranked Kuznetsova and China’s Sasai Zheng, with a right knee injury, were the only players ranked in the top 100 who are confirmed as not playing the Jan. 15-28 tournament at Melbourne Park.

Serena Williams, who was pregnant while winning the 2017 Australian Open title and gave birth to her first child in September, “is anticipated to return,” Tennis Australia said.

Williams could equal Margaret Court’s all-time record of 24 Grand Slam singles titles with another win at Melbourne Park. Serena Williams’ ranking has dropped to No. 22 during her break from the tour.