Sweden v Ukraine - Host nation faces uphill struggle in second round

Stakhovsky and Bubka in Davis Cup action back in 2009. (Julian Finney/Getty Images)
The Swedish team will need to pull together if they're to defy Ukraine for a place in the Davis Cup World Group play-offs.

Venue: Baltiska Hallen, Malmo, Sweden
Surface: Hard, Indoor

Sweden have the home advantage for their Group 1 second round clash, but this doesn't necessarily stand them in good stead to have the upper hand against the Ukraine. Although the Swedes have been able to call upon some world class players in years gone by, this isn't really the case anymore. Bear in mind that their highest ranked singles competitor is World No. 423 Markus Eriksson.

The main area of strength for Sweden is doubles. Robert Lindstedt is one of the world's finest in this department and currently ranks at No. 10. He can expect strong support from doubles No. 50 Johan Brunstrom. The side's fourth representative is young gun Isak Arvidsson, the World No. 525.

Sweden team nominations

Markus Eriksson
Isak Arvidsson
Robert Lindstedt
Johan Brunstrom

Sergiy Stakhovsky is the main man leading the way for Ukraine, and his presence here seems likely to result in two points for the travelling side. The serve and volley expert has managed to reestablish himself as a solid top 100 presence of late, and his ability to produce the goods at the top level gives him a huge advantage here.

That said, the Ukrainian squad is far from deep. World No. 306 Denys Molchanov or No. 351 Artem Smirnov are the likely picks for the other singles rubbers, whilst Sergei Bubka rounds out the team. Bubka is currently unranked and has won just one match all season, which took place in the qualifying draw for a Challenger event.

Ukraine team nominations

Sergiy Stakhovsky
Denys Molchanov
Artem Smirnov
Sergei Bubka

The travelling nation possesses the stronger team here but there's no guarantee that they'll make it through to the World Group play-offs. The Swedes are likely to win the doubles rubber, and a few inspired performances could put them in with a chance of upsetting the odds.
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Sweden v Ukraine - Host nation faces uphill struggle in second round

The Swedish team will need to pull together if they're to defy Ukraine for a place in the Davis Cup World Group play-offs.

Read more »