STOCKHOLM, September 12, 2019
Sweden will host Israel for the Davis Cup Europe-Africa Group I tie this weekend held on indoor hard court at the Royal Tennis Club in Stockholm. Sweden’s No.1 Mikael Ymer, currently ranked World No. 106, will be first on court for the home team against Israeli No.2 Edan Leshem on Friday.
Markus Eriksson will follow for the hosts against Israeli veteran and No.1, Dudi Sela, while Saturday’s play will feature the doubles with Eriksson and Andre Goransson nominated to take on Jonathan Erlich and Daniel Cukierman. The first reverse singles will follow, featuring the two No.1 players, Sela and Ymer, followed, if necessary, by the No.2s, Eriksson and Leshem.
“I’m very excited to be playing here in Stockholm, I have a lot of friends coming and playing in front of my home crowd is going to be very special,” said Mikael Ymer, as quoted on the Davis Cup website.
Sweden’s defeat to Colombia in the Qualifiers in February ended a six-tie winning streak that had seen the team progress from Group II in 2017 to the World Group play-offs in 2018, recording a string of impressive victories and producing excellent performances under pressure. All three of Sweden’s Davis Cup victories in 2018 – against Ukraine, Portugal and Switzerland – were decided in the fifth match of the tie. The Swedes also tend to perform best on hard courts and are unbeaten in their last four hard court ties – but their last defeat on hard courts came at the hands of their opponents this weekend, away in Israel in 2016.
Israel have maintained their Group I status since relegation from the World Group in 2013, but will be desperate to win this weekend in order to compete in the Qualifiers and attempt to rejoin the competition’s elite next year. The team for this weekend contains two players (Dudi Sela and Jonathan Erlich) who steered Israel to their best-ever Davis Cup result – a semifinal finish in 2009, when they lost to a Spanish team led by David Ferrer – while their current captain, Harel Levy, also played in that tie. Israel’s campaign that year began with victory against Sweden and, ten years on, Levy’s team will hope that a victory against the same opponents this weekend will be a springboard for further Davis Cup success.
The winner of the tie will contest the 2020 Qualifiers. The teams will also be eligible to receive a wild card into the 2020 Finals, along with the nations that finish in 5th-18th positions at the 2019 Finals. The loser will contest the 2020 World Group I Play-Offs.