Rookie Pernfors to Play No. 2 Singles in Davis Cup Final Against Australia

United Press International

Sweden, bidding for its third consecutive Davis Cup, surprisingly named Mikael Pernfors Thursday as its second singles player against Australia in the draw for the finals.

Australian Davis Cup veteran Frank Sedgman made the draw from a big silver bowl in light rain on Kooyong Stadium's center court during the Christmas Day ceremony.

Pernfors, a rookie and former star at the University of Georgia, was voted the most improved player of 1986 by the Assn. of Tennis Professionals. He advanced to the final of the French Open.

Pernfors will make his Davis Cup debut today in the second singles against Paul McNamee. Pat Cash, the Australian No. 1, opens against Stefan Edberg. In Saturday's doubles, world champions Anders Jarryd and Edberg face Cash and John Fitzgerald.

If Sweden defeats Australia, it will become the first nation to win three straight Davis Cup finals since 1972.

Cash is one of the world's finest grass court players, and his serve and volley game is suited for the normally slick grass at Kooyong.

Edberg won the Australian Open on these courts a year ago when he stopped compatriot Mats Wilander from winning his third consecutive Australian title. Edberg has broken from the Swedish baseline tradition and will come to the net.

Edberg is ranked No. 4 in the world and Pernfors No. 11. Cash is ranked 25th and McNamee 44th, respectively.

"It is a good team, despite the fact that Mats is not here," Swedish captain Hans Olsson said. "We are better grass court players than we have been in the past and don't be surprised if we do very well."

Wilander, the world's No. 3 player, is in the midst of a tennis sabbatical and is getting married at the time of the Davis Cup .

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