Sela ready for big tie

By Simon Griver, September 19, 2008

Israel start as strong favourites to remain in the Davis Cup World Group when they host Peru at Ramat Hasharon starting today.

The Israelis, back in the elite 16 nation World Group for the first time in 15 years, take on the Peruvians in a relegation/promotion playoff after narrowly losing to Sweden in February.

Dudi Sela (91) and Harel Levy (190) have the advantage in ranking over Luis Horna (107) and Ivan Miranda (219). An elbow injury to Jonathan Erlich has disrupted their plans in the doubles with one half of the all-conquering Australian doubles pairing sidelined. Instead, Harel Levy has been drafted in and will team up with Andy Ram, which should further tip the balance in Israel's favour.

Sela has made it clear that he has got over the disappointment of being omitted from Israel's Olympic squad. "There was never any question of boycotting the Davis Cup team," he said.

"I love representing my country and play my best tennis in the Davis Cup. There is a good chance we can win both singles matches on the first day and that will decide matters."

Levy goes into the game having returned to the world's top 200 after reaching the semi-finals of the Donyetsk Challenger tournament in Ukraine last week.

Israel's women have been handed a tough draw away to Ukraine in the Federation Cup World Group Tier II next February.

Relegation followed defeats to Russia and the Czech Republic earlier this year.

Last updated: 6:33pm, September 18 2008