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Grosjean out of first Davis Cup singles v Russia

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PAU, France, Apr 6 (Reuters) France's number two Sebastien Grosjean will miss the Davis Cup quarter-final against Russia with a back injury.

France's world number 16 Richard Gasquet will face 2005 Australian Open champion Marat Safin in the opening singles tomorrow. Arnaud Clement will play world number six Nikolay Davydenko in the second singles.

Grosjean was omitted by Guy Forget from today's draw although the French captain said Grosjean could be ready for Sunday's reverse singles against Safin.

''Sebastien is not at 100 per cent. We thought for a while he was definitely out of the team but as he has made progress since yesterday (Wednesday), I count on him for Sunday - if possible,'' Forget told reporters.

''I'm not fit to play on Friday,'' said Grosjean. ''But I hope to be fit to play on Sunday. This morning, I felt better, I was able to serve. That is why I'm still in the team.'' Clement and Michael Llodra will team up in the doubles against Igor Andreev and Mikhail Youzhny.

France lost the Davis Cup 2002 final against Russia in Paris and were knocked out by Shamil Tarpishchev's team in last year's quarter-final.

Safin has played only three tournaments in 2006. Back from a seven-month injury layoff, the former world number one beat Davydenko in his first match at the Dubai Open. He also reached the fourth round in Indian Wells last month.

France have won the four Davis Cup ties they have played in Pau.

This weeekend's tie will be played indoors on a quick surface.

REUTERS DH BD1931

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