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Israel, Sweden tied, 1-1, at Davis Cup

MALMO, Sweden, March 6 (UPI) -- Israel and Sweden split their Davis Cup matches Friday at Malmo, Sweden on a day that was marred by demonstrators outside their Baltic Hall venue.

2002 Australian Open champion Thomas Johansson gave Sweden a 1-0 lead by beating Israeli Harel Levy, 6-7 (3-7), 6-4, 7-5, 4-6, 8-6.

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In the nightcap, Israel's Dudi Sela beat Andreas Vinciguerra, 4-6, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 11-9.

Swedish authorities had decided before the first-round commenced that Friday's matches would be played without fans because of fears of demonstrations and protests against Israel, which undertook a military offensive in the Gaza Strip in January.

Also, an international controversy took place last month when Israeli women's tennis player Shahar Peer was denied entry into the United Arab Emirates for the WTA Tour's Dubai Tennis Championships.

Friday, about 20 demonstrators braved Malmo's chilly morning temperatures while police helicopters constantly circled the event.

In Saturday's doubles, Israel's Andy Ram and Amir Hadad face Simon Aspelin and Robert Lindstedt.

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