HELSINGBORG, SWEDEN: There were no surprises in either team when the draw was made in Helsingborg for the Fed Cup by BNP Paribas World Group II tie between Sweden and Ukraine.
Swedish captain Maria Strandlund-Tomsvik has selected the two Top 100 players that she has in the team, with Sofia Arvidsson and Johanna Larsson scheduled to play both singles and doubles for Sweden.
“We feel so at home here. We really enjoy it and after last year’s match when everything was new, it feels safe to come back to the same environment,” Strandlund-Tomsvik explained.
Last year Sweden beat China in the play-offs to reach World Group II for the first time since 2003, when they contested a 16-nation World Group. Then it was the exactly the same set-up, with the same players competing on the same surface in the same arena: Idrottens Hus in Helsingborg.
Swedish No. 1 Arvidsson is in her 12th year as a Fed Cup player for Sweden having contested the most ties for her country. Larsson has been in the team since 2005, but last year’s match against China, where she won both her singles rubbers, was actually her first ever on home soil.
Since then Larsson has developed a lot, improving her ranking from No. 112 during last year’s tie to No. 74 this week, having reached her first final on the WTA tour and won her first doubles title with Arvidsson. Notably both Swedish players are representing the local club Helsingborg in the Swedish League.
“I hope to make the best of the experiences I had here last year and to use them well, but on the other hand it’s almost worse to do something new for the second time. Expectations might come to you,” Larsson said about playing just her second tie in Sweden.
Everyone expected Kateryna Bondarenko to be elected for both singles and doubles duty for Ukraine this weekend. She is the Ukrainian No. 1 here, although her current world ranking of No. 107 does not do her justice.
“I didn´t play for three months last year because of injury but I think I am on the same level as when I was ranked No. 30 in the world, Bondarenko said. She won the Australian Open doubles title in 2008 with her sister Alona, and here in Helsingborg is scheduled to play the doubles with Olga Savchuk.
The tie will start with a match between Larsson and Fed Cup debutant Lesia Tsurenko. This didn’t surprise the host nation and didn’t surprise Tsurenko either.
“I am happy that I was chosen in a good team. I didn’t really expect that but I am not so surprised either. My personal coach is assistant coach for the team and he told me yesterday that there is a good chance for me to play”, she said.
Tsurenko opened up 2011 with a great run at the Australian Open. She won three matches in qualifying, before defeating Patty Schnyder in the first round. Tsurenko hopes to maintain that form this weekend, declaring that ranking is not important in Fed Cup.
The full draw is listed below.
R1: Sofia Arvidsson (SWE) v Lesia Tsurenko (UKR)
R2: Johanna Larsson (SWE) v Kateryna Bondarenko (UKR)
R3: Sofia Arvidsson (SWE) v Kateryna Bondareko (UKR)
R4: Johanna Larsson (SWE) v Lesia Tsurenko (UKR)
R5: Sofia Arvidsson/Johanna Larsson (SWE) v Kateryna Bondarenko/Olga Savchuk (UKR)
Lesia Tsurenko (SWE) - 04/02/2011
Sofia Arvidsson (SWE) - 04/02/2011
Captain Maria Strandlund-Tomsvik (SWE)