Austria go in search of their first win over Russia when the two teams clash in Wiener Neustadt, near Vienna. The two previous meetings between the nations, both in the early 1980s, ended in defeat for the Austrians, although at that time the Russians were playing under the combined Soviet Union flag.
Austria will be hoping for a different outcome to their home tie against France this time last year. Playing in a converted Vienna airport hangar, they slipped to a narrow 3-2 loss when Jeremy Chardy stepped up to win the decisive fifth rubber. However, Gilbert Schaller’s men comfortably avoided relegation with an away win against Belgium.
Russia suffered a disappointing defeat at the hands of Sweden in last year’s first round, leaving them facing a relegation battle with Brazil at home. After falling 2-1 behind, Mikhail Youzhny led a rousing comeback with a titanic five-set victory over Thomaz Bellucci, and Dmitry Tursunov finished off the job by beating Ricardo Mello.
Russia, two-time Davis Cup champions, have been ever-present in the World Group since they started playing as an independent nation in 1993, while Austria, who have yo-yoed between the top two divisions in recent times, were relegated in 2009 but bounced straight back the following year.