Portuguese Davis Cup Team Captain Rui Machado insists his side is eager to beat Kazakhstan this week and achieve their best-ever result in the competition by qualifying for the Davis Cup Finals event in November. Kazakhstan are set to host Portugal in a Davis Cup qualifying round tie on an indoor-hard court in Astana from February 01-02.
Portuguese Captain Machado nominated Joao Sousa, Pedro Sousa, Gastao Elias and Joao Domingues for the tie. On the other side, the hosts will be represented by Mikhail Kukushkin, Alexander Bublik, Aleksandr Nedovyesov, Denis Yevseyev, Timur Khabibulin.
‘The team from Kazakhstan is very good. Their players are very good and have a good record in the Davis Cup. But I also believe in my players, we are in good shape and have done a very good preparation,” Machado said, per the Davis Cup site.
Top-ranked Kazakh player Kukushkin insists his side won’t be taking the Portuguese for granted. “The Portuguese team have great players, starting from Joao Sousa. He is a good player, he has better rating than we have.
He is scheduled to play in all three matches. From playing on the tour I know their team are good players,” Kukushkin said. “I expect tough matches in next two days, we know them very well but they also know how we are playing.”
Bublik will face off with Portuguese Joao Sousa ranked 39th in the world on Day 1 on Friday. A clash between the most experienced Kazakhstani player Mikhail Kukushkin vs Pedro Sousa will follow. On Day 2 Alexandr Nedovyesov and Timur Khabibulin will take on Portuguese duo Gastao Elias and Joao Sousa. The program of the second day also includes reverse singles starring Kukushkin and Joao Sousa and Alexander Bublik and Pedro Sousa.