Davis Cup World Group Quarterfinals Preview
The next round of this year’s Davis Cup action kicks off tomorrow with a set of interesting and entertaining matchups on tap.
Canada vs. Italy
Canada has yet another chance to grab a big upset at home in Vancouver on indoor hard courts as Milos Raonic, Vasek Pospisil, doubles specialist Daniel Nestor and Jesse Levine (in his first DC tie for Canada) will take on Andreas Seppi , Fabio Fognini, Daniele Bracciali and Paolo Lorenzi. The Italians would certainly prefer clay though Seppi and Fognini are at least average to above average on hard courts. This tie will come down to Raonic getting the job done in both of his rubbers and then the Canadians either winning the doubles rubber or one of the other two singles rubbers. Pospisil is playing well and Levine should be motivated to play DC. With that being said, it may well be 3-2 but the Maple Leafs should win it.
The pick: Canada
USA vs. Serbia
The USA has an equal or better team on paper with Quisner and the Bryan Brothers at home on indoor hard courts in far-flung Boise, but Serbia, who doesn’t have Janko Tipsarevic, has Novak Djokovic, Viktor Troicki, doubles specialist Nenad Zimonjic and Illija Bozoljac, who is ranked outside the top 330.
The problem is Isner can’t seem to beat anyone right now even on surfaces he likes and Querrey isn’t that exceptional right now either (though did upset Djokovic indoors last year in Paris). The Bryans are reliable but they only count for one rubber. Djokovic, on the other hand, you have to assume would be good for winning both his rubbers and with that the Serbs just have to win one of the other two singles rubbers. I’ll go with the Serbs in a close rubber.
The pick: Serbia
Argentina vs. France
Argentina has never beaten France in Davis Cup (0-5) and they may well continue that losing streak in this tie even though they are at home on clay in Buenos Aires.
The French have a strong team of Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Julian Benneteau and Gilles Simon along with doubles specialist Michael Llodra. The Argentines have the struggling Juan Monaco, the up and down Horacio Zeballos and Carlos Berlocq and the possibly rusty David Nalbandian. On paper, this tie should be quite close but given the form of the Argentine team the French should be able to win this with a rubber to spare.
The pick: France
Kazakhstan vs. Czech Republic
The Kazaks have their full team at home on indoor clay in Astana, with Mikhail Kukushkin, Evgeny Korolev, Andrey Golubev and Yuriy Schukin. The Czechs are severely weakened as a team because national #1 Tomas Berdych won’t be participating in this tie. Instead, they have Radek Stepanek, Lukas Rosol, Jan Hajek and Ivo Minar.
Kazakhstan did well to upset in Austria in the previous round and their players all performed well above their ATP ranking while the Czechs may well find themselves in some early trouble given that their top ranked player Stepanek isn’t planning to play singles, but only the doubles rubber. Rosol and Hajek aren’t bad players but they are inconsistent and at least for Rosol, clay is not his favorite surface. I will go with the upset and say the Kazaks get through this one.
The pick: Kazakhstan
In other action outside the World Group: In Asia-Oceania group 1, Denis Istomin and Uzbekistan will take on Bernard Tomic, Marinko Matosevic and Australia at home on indoor clay. The Aussies have a superior team on paper but clay is not their strength. Korea will also take on Japan, which is led by Go Soeda and Tatsuma Ito in that group.
In Americas Group 1: An interesting Chilean team featuring the youngster Christian Garin and the veteran Paul Capdeville will take on Julio-Cesar Campozano and Ecuador, who will have the home hard court advantage. Alejandro Falla, Santiago Giraldo and Colombia will take on a weak Uruguay team that doesn’t have a player ranked in the top 550 at home on hard courts.
In Europe/Africa Group 1: James Ward, Colin Fleming, and Great Britain will host Dmitry Tursunov, Evgeny Donskoy and the rest of the Russian team in a tie where they will be serious underdogs.
The Polish team led by Jerzy Janowicz and the doubles specialists Matkowski and Fyrstenberg will take on a very weak South African team that has Rik De Voest and no one else ranked inside the top 500. With the withdraw of South African player Raaven Klaasen from the tie, their captain, 40 year old John Laffnie De Jager, who last played Davis Cup in 2002, stepped up and nominated himself for the tie. He probably won’t play any rubbers.
Romania will host the Netherlands on home hardcourts and their team features Victor Hanescu and doubles specialist Horia Tecau. The probable favorites are the Dutch, who counter with their top two, Robin Haase and Igor Sijsling.
And in the last Euro Group tie Alex Dolgopolov, Sergiy Stakhovsky and Ukraine will take on an inexperienced Swedish team that has doubles specialists Brunstrom and Lindstedt but no singles players ranked in the top 640.