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Sebastian Korda to Open U.S. Davis Cup Tie vs. Ukraine

Sebastian Korda will open the U.S. vs. Ukraine Davis Cup tie tomorrow. Photo credit: Saulius Čirba

It’s Sebi Time at the SEB Arena tomorrow.

World No. 33 Sebastian Korda will open the U.S. team’s Davis Cup qualifier against No. 342 Oleksii Krutykh of Ukraine tomorrow at the SEB Arena in Vilnius, Lithuania.

This is a home tie for Ukraine that will be contested in Lithuania for safety reasons due to Russia’s unprovoked, ongoing invasion of Ukraine.

Korda, who fell to Andrey Rublev in the Australian Open third round, said he’s pumped to play the opening role on SEB Arena’s indoor hard court.

“Yeah, it’s definitely not going to be an easy time, for sure. I think we’re all pretty excited to get going and hopefully I’ll play my best tennis,” Korda said. “Yeah, it’s my second Davis Cup tie, so I’m really excited to play.

“We have a great team, great guys on the team, and we have a lot of great chemistry, so I’m excited to be here and getting ready to go tomorrow.”

American No. 1 Taylor Fritz will follow in Thursday’s second match, playing No. 498 Viacheslav Bielinskyi.

Ukraine’s top nominated singles player, No. 165 Vitaliy Sachko, was not selected for the initial lineups during today’s draw, held at the Embassy of Ukraine in Vilnius.

The Ukrainian singles choices surprised U.S. captain Bob Bryan, who plans to spend his evening scouting the opposition on YouTube.

“We weren’t expecting to see Bielinskyi play, but we’ll watch some film tonight and get a good scouting report,” captain Bryan said. “I know the guys will be ready. It’s been a great four or five days of practice. We’ll get a good game plan and give it our best.”

Photo credit: Saulius Čirba

World No. 9 Fritz, who pushed world No. 1 Novak Djokovic to four sets in the Australian Open quarterfinals last week, carries a 5-2 lifetime Davis Cup record in tomorrow’s tie. Fritz said he’s eager to help the United States to a fast start tomorrow. 

“I’m playing second on first day, I guess it’s good to not be the first one going out,” Fritz said. “I get to see Sebi play the first match, then I get to finish out day one.

“I expect [Ukrainian players] to play well. I feel like typically when you have nothing to lose, you can play at a really high level.

“So obviously going to respect that and prepare to play my best.”

Team USA, which includes Christopher Eubanks, Austin Krajicek and Rajeev Ram, is launching its quest for a record-extending 33rd Davis Cup championship. Krajicek and Ram open Friday’s schedule against Ukraine’s Vitaliy Sachko and Illya Beloborodko.

The first team to win three matches wins the best-of-five-match tie.

Friday’s schedule can be amended if either team clinches victory in the third our fourth match, and captains may make substitutions to Friday’s lineups up to one hour prior to match time for the doubles and up to 15 minutes after the previous match for the singles.

It’s been 17 years since an American squad of Andy Roddick, James Blake, Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan defeated Russia 4-1 in the 2007 Davis Cup final in Portland to win the nation’s record 32nd Davis Cup championship.

Captain Bryan said conditions are “perfect” for Team USA to launch its chase of a 33rd Davis Cup.

“The facilities are beautiful. They’re taking great care of us and finding everything we need,” Captain Bob Bryan said. “Everything’s really convenient, so it’s a perfect kind of climate to play well.

“Davis Cup was a big part of my career. Those are the matches that really gave me the goosebumps and the ones I remember in retirement, so it’s an honor to be on the bench for these guys.”

U.S. vs. Ukraine Davis Cup Schedule
SEB Arena in Vilnius, Lithuania
Indoor Hard Court
Television: Tennis Channel will televise the tie live with Jan-Michael Gambill and Mark Knowles calling the action.

Thursday, February 1
6 p.m. local time,  11 a.m. Eastern

Sebastian Korda (USA) vs. Oleksii Krutykh (UKR)
Taylor Fritz (USA) vs. Viacheslav Bielinskyi (UKR)

Friday, February 2
5 p.m. local  time, 10 a.m. Eastern

Austin Krajicek / Rajeev Ram (USA) vs. Vitaliy Sachko / Illya Beloborodko (UKR)
Taylor Fritz (USA) vs. Oleksii Krutykh (UKR)
Sebastian Korda (USA) vs. Viacheslav Bielinskyi (UKR)