Young guns given chance to shine as Israel win Davis Cup play-off


Israel avoided Davis Cup relegation after beating Sweden 3-1 in the Europe/Africa Group One play-off.

The result was never in doubt after Amir Weintraub (223) thrilled the 5,000 crowd at Ramat Hasharon with a very comfortable 6-2, 6-3, 6-0 victory over Elias Ymer (161).

Dudi Sela (94) was far too strong for Markus Eriksson, winning 6-4, 6-2, 6-3, and Sela later teamed up with Jonathan Erlich to beat Isak Arvidsson and Yohan Brondstrom 6-4, 7-6, 4-6, 6-2 to take an unassailable 3-0 lead and ensure survival in Group One.

Sela said: "Amir took a lot of pressure of all of us by winning his match so easily.

"I came to the match very tired and although we were favourites, the Swedes are always tough and competitive but the crowd at Ramat Hasharon really lifted us."

With the tie won, Israel experimented with its youngsters and 19-year-old Edan Leshem (366) went down 7-5, 3-6, 2-6 to Arvidsson (541).

Israel then handed a chance to 16-year-old prodigy Yshai Oliel (912) in what the Swedes agreed would be a friendly match because Oliel was not officially listed in Israel's squad. The Israel seized the opportunity and beat Erikkson (456) 6-4, 6-4.

Oliel said: "I know this victory didn't count but it was an amazing feeling to represent my country and gives me great incentive to work harder and become part of the Davis Cup team."

There was more good news for Israel when Davis Cup captain Eyal Ran, who had announced his intention to step down after 11 years, said he had been persuaded to stay on.

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