Suchanan to fight it out with No 45
Suchanan Viratprasert will kick off the Fed Cup tie against world No 45 Iveta Benesova as Thailand launch their mission impossible against the powerful Czech Republic at the Rama Gardens Hotel this weekend.
The Thai No 2, who took the place of Tamarine Tanasugarn as the No 1 singles player, was pitted against the 23-year-old left-hander from Most in the first rubber tomorrow which will be telecast live on UBC SuperSport Action from 3pm.
After the draw for the World Group II tie was conducted at
the hotel yesterday evening, Thailand nominated young Monthinee Tangphong as the second singles player instead of the injured Napaporn Tongsalee. Monthinee will play world No 15 Nicole Vaidisova in the second rubber.
There was a surprise in store when the visiting side opted to field Benesova as the second singles player instead of the 33rd ranked Klara Koukalova. The latter is kept for the doubles and will team up with Barbora Strycova.
But Suchanan does not see that it will make any difference.
"Whether it is Benesova or Koukalova it will be equally tough. The captain [Vittaya Samrej] hit some balls with me because he wanted me to get used to a lefty," said Suchanan, who has lost only one match in the Fed Cup over the past two years.
In fact, Vittaya had observed that Benesova could be the singles option earlier in the day.
"They made her practise a lot on her groundstrokes in the afternoon. So I have to practise with Suchanan because I'm also a lefty," said Vittaya, who still believes the weather could prove the Achilles heel for the Czech players were adamant they can handle it.
"I don't think they will enjoy playing in the heat. Last year we played Croatia in Phuket and they had some trouble with the conditions," the Thai non-playing captain said.
Czech captain Thomas Petera insisted his team had already become acclimatised to Bangkok's heat and believes his team has enough experience to deal with the circumstances.
"They have been to many places where the weather is the same. They played in Australia where
it is as hot as this. I'm quite confident we will win this tie," Petera said.
Since Napaporn has not recovered fully from a groin injury, Monthinee was the only option left for Thailand in the second singles match. It will not only be the first time that she has played in a singles but also against a top 20 player.
"Of course I am very excited because I have never played against a player ranked so high. I will have to suppress the excitement on court and give my best shot on Saturday," said Monthinee, ranked a distant 282 on the WTA computer.
"My plan is to stick to my game - be aggressive and see how it goes. If things don't work out, I will takes some advice from the captain," said the 20-year-old Monthinee.
Napaporn and newcomer Nudnida Luangnam will play the doubles which will be the last match on Sunday. The Sunday's reverse singles will start with the No 1 singles players against each other followed by the No 2 singles players match.
"Tammy" Tamarine Tanasugarn "June" Nudnida Luangnam "Eve" Nicha Lertpitaksinchai