Israel took a 2-0 lead over Portugal in the second round of the Europe/Africa Zone Group I Davis Cup tie in Ramat Hasharon on Friday thanks to wins from Dudi Sela and Amir Weintraub.
Sela defeated Frederico Gil 6-3, 6-4, 6-4, while Weintraub beat Machado 5-7, 6-3, 6-1, 7-5."It is very hard to play on this court and I also had a little luck in the third set," Sela said. "The result makes the match look easier than it was. I think we have a good chance to take this tie."
After heartbreakingly missing out on progress to the World Group last year, Israel is now just one win away from the World Group playoffs.
Andy Ram and Yoni Erlich are currently scheduled to play Joao Sousa and Gastao Elias in the doubles match on Saturday, although Portugal captain Pedro Cordeiro is likely to use at least one of his top two singles players.
“It is always exciting to play in front of our fans and I hope the stadium will be full,” said Ram, who will take part in his 24th tie this weekend, equaling Shlomo Glickstein’s Israeli record.
“Portugal is a strong team and will fight hard. But Yoni and I are the favorites and with all the conditions in our favor we should win.”