The Star Online: Sports

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The Star Online: Sports

Austria to play France in aircraft hangar

Posted: 22 Dec 2010 05:35 AM PST

SCHWECHAT, Austria (AP): Austria will play France on a clay court in an aircraft hangar in the first round of the 2011 Davis Cup.

A 10,000-square-meter hangar at Austria's main airport - 20 kilometers east of Vienna - which is being used for maintenance of a Boeing 747, will be transformed into a 6,000-capacity tennis stadium for the March 4-6 tie, the Austrian Tennis Federation announced on Wednesday.

"It will be really cool to play there," the 11th-ranked Jurgen Melzer said. "A lot of fans can get in so we hope to put on a good show."

The federation struggled to find an appropriate location as no suitable sporting venue in Vienna region was available for that week.

"(Melzer's manager) Ronnie Leitgeb came up with the idea. ... It's a unique project," federation vice president Helmut Dorn said. "We are glad to fulfill the players' wish to get the match staged near Vienna."

Melzer didn't expect the constant noise of airplanes to cause any significant disturbance.

"At Flushing Meadows, planes fly over your head all the time," he said. "I hope our fans will be loud enough so we won't hear any planes."

According to Melzer, clay will be "definitely the best choice" for a surface to take on France.

"They have several good clay-court players but they have even more good hard-court players to choose from," Melzer said.

Austria has not passed the first round of the Davis Cup since 1995.

Nine-time champion France lost this month's final 3-2 to Serbia.

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Renault retains Vitaly Petrov for next two seasons

Posted: 22 Dec 2010 05:34 AM PST

PARIS (AP): Lotus Renault has confirmed that Vitaly Petrov will partner Robert Kubica next year in the Formula One world championship after the Russian extended his contract until the end of the 2012 season.

Petrov joined Renault this season, becoming the first Russian driver to compete in Formula One. He finished 13th in the drivers' standings with 27 points, 109 fewer than his Polish teammate.

Petrov said "I am very happy to continue with the team and proud to be representing Lotus Renault GP for the 2011 and 2012 seasons."

Lotus and Renault agreed to a seven-season deal last month to create Lotus Renault GP.

Group Lotus will own and run the team while Renault will supply the engines and technical support.

Renault finished fifth in the 2010 constructors' championship with Kubica and Petrov on board.

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