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13 September 2012

Sweden face uphill battle in Brussels


NEWS ARTICLE

By 

  • Richard Fleming

Photo: ImagellanSteve Darcis (BEL) and Michael Ryderstedt (SWE)

BRUSSELS, BELGIUM: It is 60 years since Belgium last defeated Sweden in a Davis Cup by BNP Paribas tie, but they will fancy their chances of ending that sorry run at the Royal Primerose Club in Brussels this weekend.

Without Robin Soderling, the Swedish threat is severely blunted and they risk playing outside of the World Group for the first time since 2000.

Sweden's hopes of holding on to their proud record appear slim. Even without former world No. 4 Soderling, who has been sidelined for more than a year with illness, Sweden were considered outsiders for this tie.

They must now also face Belgium minus their leading doubles player Robert Lindstedt.

Enqvist said: "We did a last test this morning. He's been having a real hectic schedule and his body is just saying 'no'.

"He was eager to play this tie. He has a big heart for Davis Cup but this time, unfortunately, we had to pull him out of the team."

Belgium's bid to bounce straight back to the World Group will begin with Steve Darcis facing Michael Ryderstedt, to be followed by David Goffin against Lindstedt's replacement, Andreas Vinciguerra. Vinciguerra, who recently became a father for the first time, has not played a match since last December.

Belgium's No. 2, Darcis, is finishing the year strongly. Notable recent scalps include Tomas Berdych at the Olympic Games, as well as Andy Roddick at last month's ATP event in Winston-Salem.

Goffin, meanwhile, has enjoyed an incredible year. He came to international prominence during Roland Garros, when he reached the round of 16 as a lucky loser and proceeded to take the first set off Roger Federer, before losing in four.

The 21-year-old made his Davis Cup debut in April, defeating Josh Goodall of Great Britain in what proved the decisive fourth rubber. He now enters only his second-ever tie as Belgium's No. 1.

Goffin said: "Steve starts on Friday and I hope it will be one-love for us to make it more comfortable for me."

Enqvist has placed much on the shoulders of Ryderstedt, who is due to play singles and doubles.

The world ranked No. 457 said: "They are big favourites in every match but we've just got to go out there and believe - that's the only way."

Belgium's previous Davis Cup victory over Sweden came at the Royal Leopold Club in Brussels, in June 1952. Since then, the two nations have met just four times, with Sweden successful on each occasion.

Not since February 1996 have the paths of Belgium and Sweden crossed in Davis Cup. Sweden won that tie 4-1, with Belgium's solitary success coming from current team captain, Johan van Herck. Indeed, he overcame his opposite number 16 years on, Thomas Enqvist, in straight sets.

Van Herck said: "It was 3-zero already but it was nice because he was a top 10 player.

"But this is a total different story. They have some players who are not here. We are in a stronger position and will try to change the score around."

The full draw is listed below:

Friday
R1: Steve Darcis (BEL) v Michael Ryderstedt (SWE)
R2: David Goffin (BEL) v Andreas Vinciguerra (SWE)

Saturday
R3: Ruben Bemelmans / Olivier Rochus (BEL) v Johan Brunstrom / Michael Ryderstedt (SWE)

Sunday
R4: David Goffin (BEL) v Michael Ryderstedt (SWE)
R5: Steve Darcis (BEL) v Andreas Vinciguerra (SWE)

Follow this tie as it happens: Live scores or Watch Live 

David Goffin (BEL) - 13/09/12

Captain Johan van Herck (BEL) - 13/09/12

Michael Ryderstedt (SWE) - 13/09/12

Steve Darcis (BEL) - 13/09/12

Captain Thomas Enqvist (SWE) - 13/09/12

  • More photos

    • Steve Darcis (BEL) and Michael Ryderstedt (SWE)Belgium and Sweden captains
    • Belgian and Swedish captainsThe draw in Brussels
    • Belgian teamThe Swedish team
    • The Belgian and Swedish teamsMichael Ryderstedt (SWE) and captain Thomas Enqvist
     
 
 

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