Israel sweeps Sweden in Fed Cup

Shahar Pe'er won in singles and doubles, Anna Smashnova equaled a Fed Cup record in the opening day at the Fed Cup Europe/Africa.

shahar peer 298.88 (photo credit: Associated Press)
shahar peer 298.88
(photo credit: Associated Press)
Shahar Pe'er won in singles and doubles and Anna Smashnova equaled a Fed Cup record by playing in her 58th tie on Sunday as Israel swept Sweden 3-0 in the opening day of play at the Fed Cup Europe/Africa Zone Group I tournament in Plovdiv, Bulgaria. Smashnova, who's ranked 39th in the world and now Israel's No. 2 racquet behind Pe'er (35), got the ball rolling in the morning with a 6-4, 6-4 win over Johanna Larsson (527). The win saw Israel's alltime leader in Davis Cup victories improve her singles record to 38-21. Her 58th tie sees her equal the competition record previously held by Spain's Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario. Smashnova is expected to take the record for herself on Tuesday, when she is scheduled to play the day's opening match against Romania. The 29-year-old has been a mainstay in Israel's side since first taking the court in July 1992, losing twice in a 3-0 defeat to Poland. Among her highlights were leading Israel to three straight World Group qualifying appearances, the most noteworthy of which was a tie against Team USA in Springfield, Missouri, in 2002. Obziler and Pe'er were also a part of that squad, which lost 5-0 to an American side consisting of Monica Seles and Lindsay Davenport. On Monday, Pe'er clinched the win for Israel with a 6-4, 6-2 win over Sofia Arvidsson (33) in the second singles rubber. After a short rest, Pe'er hopped back on the clay courts to team with Tzipi Obziler to overcome Larsson and Nadia Roma 2-6, 6-3, 8-6 and complete the sweep. On Tuesday, the blue-andwhite squad takes on Romania, which was idle on Monday. Non-playing captain Ruxandra Dragomir-Ilie has not yet announced her nominations for the tie, but No. 2 racquet Madalina Gojnea (297) will likely play the 10 a.m. match against Smashnova. And Monica Niculescu (278) will face Pe'er in the second rubber. Both players are teenagers and not expected to create too much problems for the more experienced Israelis. After the opening day, Israel leads Group 4 over Belarus, which defeated Estonia 2-1. Israel must win the group to advance to the semifinal round and retain a chance at reaching the World Group playoffs.