Israel hosts Sweden in Davis Cup at Ramat Hasharon

October 28, 2016 01:04

Israel is hosting a Davis Cup tie in Ramat Hasharon for the first time in four years after losing 3-2 to Hungary in the first round of Group I in March.

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Israel Olympic

Dudi Sela. (photo credit: Courtesy)

Dudi Sela admitted that he knows little about the opponent he will face in the first day of Israel’s Davis Cup Group I second round playoff tie against Sweden in Ramat Hasharon on Friday, but he nevertheless is expecting to claim a win.

Israel needs to defeat Sweden to secure another year in Group I and it enters the tie as a clear favorite. Sela, ranked No. 71 in the world, faces Markus Eriksson, who is ranked 385 places below him at 456.

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“I know nothing about Eriksson”, said Sela. “I’m happy to be back playing on the court at which I started.

We are the favorites and that is good. I’ve been suffering from cramp in my hand recently, but I know how to deal with it.”

Israel’s No. 2 Amir Weintraub (222) plays Sweden’s No. 1 Elias Ymer (158) in the first rubber of the day. Yoni Erlich and Edan Leshem were nominated to play Isak Arvidsson and Johan Brunstrom in Saturday’s doubles match, although the team captains can change their selections until shortly before the encounter.

The reverse singles will be played on Sunday.

Israel is hosting a Davis Cup tie in Ramat Hasharon for the first time in four years after losing 3-2 to Hungary in the first round of Group I in March.

The blue-and-white is in danger of dropping to Group II for the first time since 2001 should it lose to Sweden, with the winner to maintain its status, while the loser will play a tie against relegation versus Algeria.

Sweden is a seven-time winner of the Davis Cup, but the last of its triumphs came in 1998 and it hasn’t been part of the World Group since 2012. Sweden faces Israel after losing 5-0 to both Russia and the Netherlands earlier this year.

Israel has won the last two ties it has hosted in the country, not losing at home since falling to Canada in the World Group playoffs in September 2011.

“Our players are in good shape and we have had a long week of training,” said Israel captain Eyal Ran, who will be leaving the team after 11 years following the tie with Sweden. “We are happy to be back in Ramat Hasharon. We are the favorites, but we will need to prove that in every match. For each and every one of us, playing at Ramat Hasharon has been a dream since we were children.”

The 39-year-old Erlich could be playing his last tie in Israel, and he can’t wait for his match to begin.

“We are excited to be back at Ramat Hasharon,” said the veteran doubles player. “I couldn’t play when we hosted Slovenia in Tel Aviv last year so I’m looking forward to this tie even more than usual.”

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