Israel’s Davis Cup tennis team secured their Group I status after comprehensively beating Sweden in Ramat HaSharon.
Amir Weintraub and Dudi Sela won their singles matches on Friday, meaning Sela and Jonathan Erlich’s 6-4, 7-6, 4-6, 6-1 win in the doubles gave them an unassailable 3-0 lead going into Sunday’s two dead rubbers.
Delighted with the win, captain Eyal Ran said: “It;s amazing to defeat Sweden 3-0. We were under pressure in both days and I’m really proud of Yoni and Dudi for completing the job.”
Weintraub got the Israelis off to a perfect start, beating an opponent who 66 places higher in the rankings. He said: “I was nervous from the start because I haven’t played here in a long time. When you are playing for your country you are under a lot of pressure. I was really uptight during the preparations and I’m happy everything fell into place and I was focused.
“I wish I could also do better on the circuit, but you need to understand that in a Davis Cup tie we are given the kind of support I don’t have during the year. That helps. I’m not complaining, that is just the reality.”
Seventeen-year-old Yshai Oliel marked his Davis Cup debut with a victory, which followed Edan Leshem defeat to seal a 4-1 win. Oliel, ranked 912 in the world, said: “This is an amazing feeling, I’m really happy with the way I played. Thanks to the team and to Eyal for giving me a chance. I’ll work hard to succeed and to continue and represent Israel in the future.”
The win means Israel avoided being relegated to Group II for what would have been the first time since 2001, and they now next travel to Portugal for a Group I first round tie in February, where the winner will face Ukraine for a place in the World Group play-offs. The Sweden win was their third consecutive home success, stretching back to 2011, though they’ve only won one of their last five away matches.