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India to face Sweden away in Davis Cup World Group I tie

Published at :February 08, 2024 at 08:56 PM
Modified at :February 08, 2024 at 08:56 PM
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(Courtesy : PTI)

Ajay Gandhar

Sweden has not lost any tie against India

India’s tennis team will face a tough challenge when they travel to Sweden for the Davis Cup World Group I tie in September. The draw, which was announced on Thursday, pits India against the 7-time champions and the hosts of the 1987 final, where India suffered a 0-5 defeat.

India, who thrashed Pakistan 4-0 in the World Group I Play-Offs in February, will be hoping to repeat their performance and secure a place in the World Group Qualifiers for 2025. However, they will have to overcome a formidable Swedish team, who have a strong tradition in the Davis Cup and boast of players like Elias Ymer, Filip Bergevi, and Karl Friberg.

India’s most memorable encounter with Sweden was the 1987 final in Gothenburg, where India reached the summit clash for the third and last time in their history. Led by Vijay Amritraj and Ramesh Krishnan, India had stunned Argentina and Australia en route to the final but were no match for the Swedish juggernaut, who had Mats Wilander, Stefan Edberg, Anders Jarryd, and Joakim Nystrom in their ranks. The Swedes swept all five matches, dropping only one set in the process, and clinched their fourth Davis Cup title.

The last time India and Sweden met was in 2005, in the World Group first round in New Delhi. Sweden prevailed 3-1, with Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi scoring the lone point for India in the doubles. Since then, Sweden has been relegated to the lower groups, while India has been struggling to break into the World Group.

India’s captain Rohit Rajpal will be banking on the experience and form of his players, who have been doing well on the ATP Tour and the Challenger circuit. Ramkumar Ramanathan, Prajnesh Gunneswaran, Yuki Bhambri, and Sumit Nagal are likely to be the singles options, while Saketh Myneni will be the doubles specialists. Rajpal will also have the option of fielding young talents like Niki Poonacha, Siddharth Rawat, and Manish Sureshkumar, who have shown promise in recent tournaments.

Sweden’s captain Simon Aspelin will have a balanced squad, with Elias Ymer leading the charge in singles. Ymer, who is ranked 159. He will be supported by his younger brother Mikael Ymer, who is ranked 116 and has also made the third round of a Grand Slam at the French Open in his career.

The winner of the tie will advance to the World Group Qualifiers, where they will have a chance to qualify for the 2025 Davis Cup Finals. The loser will remain in World Group I and will have to play another tie in February 2025 to retain their status.

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World Group I Draw

  • Serbia (1) (c) v Greece
  • Croatia (2) (c)* v Lithuania
  • Sweden (3) (c) v India
  • Kazakhstan (4) (c)* v Denmark
  • Poland (c)* v Korea, Rep. (5)
  • Switzerland (6) (c) v Peru
  • Egypt (c) v Hungary (7)
  • Norway (c) v Portugal (8)
  • Austria (9) 9(c)* v Turkiye
  • Chinese Taipei 9(c)* v Bosnia and Herzegovina(10)
  • Israel(11)( c)v Ukraine
  • Japan(c)v Colombia(12)

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