Sucha Drawn First Against Bacsinszky in Switzerland
The draw for the Switzerland v Slovak Republic World Group II tie in Neuchatel has been made, and is as follows:
Timea Bacsinszky (SUI) v Martina Sucha (SVK)
Myriam Casanova (SUI) v Lubomira Kurhajcova (SVK)
Myriam Casanova (SUI) v Martina Sucha (SVK)
Timea Bacsinszky (SUI) v Lubomira Kurhajcova (SVK)
Timea Bacsinszky/Myriam Casanova (SUI) v Eva Fislova/Stanislava Hrozenska (SVK)
In this Fed Cup World Group II tie between Switzerland and the Slovak Republic in Neuenburg, the visitors are the favourites, but the home team will try to defy the odds with a young team this weekend.
At the draw, made by Etienne Dagon, former Olympic medallist in breaststroke, it was decided that Swiss hopeful Timea Bacsinszky will open the tie on Saturday against Slovak number 1 Martina Sucha, before Myriam Casanova takes on Lubomira Kurhajcova. On Sunday, the number 1 players will first play their reverse singles, followed by the number 2 ladies. For the final doubles rubber, nominations for the moment are Casanova/Bacsinszky against Eva Fislova/Stanislava Hrozenska, but of course this could change.
As Patty Schnyder and Emmanuelle Gagliardi are unavailable, the Swiss hopes rest on the shoulders of Casanova. It won't be easy to fulfill them for the 19-year-old because the ever cheerful young lady hasn't had much reason to celebrate recently:
After years of success and promising attacking tennis on the WTA tour, Casanova has had trouble with health. A major problem with her metabolism bothered her for a long time; Casanova was unable to lose weight -- no matter which diet she tried. After the last US Open, she took a break from competitive tennis that now has lasted for eight months. And for the moment, she has no intention to come back. She will play smaller tournaments in Switzerland as well as the interclub events, and start an office job in her home city of Altstätten.
But when captain Ivo Werner asked her to join the Fed Cup team as a leader, a role she already had fulfilled last summer in Montreal with excellence, she didn't have doubts: "I love to help this team".
After the week of practice, she has mixed emotions.
"I feel joy but also a certain nervousness because I haven't played a match in eight months. I know I won't be able to play a hundred percent of what was my standard but I will certainly give my best."
In the first singles, 15-year-old Bacsinszky will have little pressure when facing long-time Top-100 player Sucha. The Swiss talent, twice winner of the prestigious "Les Petits As" tournament in Tarbes and partially coached by Heinz Günthardt, only joined the team on Tuesday after a period on clay.
Coach Ivo Werner is happy with her progress: "She adjusted surprisingly well to the hardcourt and I hope she can win the match."
The nominations for the Swiss team, which further consists of Stefanie Vögele and Gaelle Widmer, wasn't a surprise for Slovak captain Marian Vajda, a former successful professional.
"That's what we had expected but we are well prepared."
He doesn't think that all the pressure is on his team in this tie: "I think it's on both sides. We came here and we want to win but that goes for the Swiss too."
In the absence of leader Daniela Hantuchova, most expectations in the Slovak team will rest on Sucha. She looks rather relaxed, even if she doesn't know her opening opponent well.
"We 'll see what happens. I only heard about Timea. With Myriam, I practised a few times on the tour but we never played against each other."
Career high ranking: 6 (16/10/2005)
Current Ranking: 40, 789 pts, 35 tournaments
2007 race to the championship: 26, 293 pts, 8 tournaments
Year-end Ranking: 2006 - 46, 2005 - 8, 2004 - 63, 2003 - 146
Winner: 2006 - Beijing, 2005 - Sydney, Budapest, Hasselt
Runner-up: 2006 - Prague, 2005 - Hyderabad, Forest Hills, Los Angeles YEC
Semifinal: 2006 - Paris, Bogota, 2004 - Sopot
Quarterfinal: 2005 - Prague, Modena, 2004 - Indian Wells, Stockholm, Seoul, Filderstadt