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India to play China in away Davis Cup tie

MANJUNATH KIRAN/AFP/Getty Images

India will face surprise first-round winners China away next in the Asia/Oceania Group I tie on April 6&7 this year. On Saturday, China shocked New Zealand 3-1 after pulling off a straight-sets upset in the doubles rubber to tilt the tie in their favor after being level at 1-1 at the end of first day's play. The pair of Artem Sitak and Marcus Daniell ran out ideas and pushed New Zealand, who hadn't lost a doubles rubber in the last four years, to the brink of defeat.

After losing to hosts Canada 2-3 in the World Group play-offs in Edmonton in September last year, top seeds India, who got a first-round bye, will yet again play an away tie this April. India, who enjoy a dominant 3-0 head-to-head record against China, last played and hosted them in 2005.

Since this year, the format of Davis Cup has undergone a transformation, with playing days being cut short to two and best-of-three sets. In the revised scenario, two singles matches are now played on the first day and the doubles matches are followed by the reverse singles on the second. These changes however, do not apply to World Group ties.

India have made four successive attempts to climb into the World Group since 2014, but failed on each occasion.