2014 Davis Cup World Group Quarterfinals Preview
Steen Kirby, Tennis East Coast
The 2014 DC semifinals will be set this weekend with the four DC quarterfinals across two continents.
Here’s a preview of all the action.
Japan vs. Czech Republic
With both Kei Nishikori and Go Soeda out of this tie for Japan, their chances of advancing, even at home in Tokyo on indoor hard are severely stunted. The Czechs are missing Tomas Berdych, but they have Radek Stepanek and Lukas Rosol, plus the young Jiri Vesely, all of whom are in decent form and competitive on indoor hard courts. Japan has Tatsuma Ito leading the way, and two rising young players, Taro Daniel and Yasutaka Uchiyama, but 3 top 70 players and a great doubles player In Stepanek gives the Czechs a clear edge over a Japanese team without a top 130 player. It could be 4-1 or 5-0 to finish, depending if Ito or the young Daniel, who has been given his first call up with Japan, can grab some sort of an upset.
The Pick: Czech Republic
France vs. Germany
On paper, this would be a competitive tie, but Germany is missing all of their top players (Tommy Haas, Philipp Kohlschreiber, Florian Mayer), while France is again stacked with Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Julien Benneteau and Gael Monfils, along with Michael Llodra to play doubles. Germany’s C team of Tobias Kamke, Peter Gojowczyk and Andre Begemann for doubles is their counterweight. Even with the French team out of form, with Tsonga struggling and Monfils nagged by “personal problems”, it would take an heroic performance from the veteran Kamke and the challenger level player Gojowcyk to make this competitive. On indoor hard, at home in France, it’s hard to see a different result than France 3-0 with the tie over by Saturday doubles.
The Pick: France
Italy vs. Great Britain
Team GB has Andy Murray again, but they will be underdogs against Italy on clay in Naples. A slightly injured Fabio Fognini leads the way for Italy, backed up by the struggling but steady Andreas Seppi, and then Paolo Lorenzi and Simone Bolelli probably to play the doubles tie. Team GB has Colin Fleming/Ross Hutchins as the doubles specialist team and then James Ward as second singles backing up Murray.
On a faster surface, team GB might even be favorites, and this will be the closest tie of the weekend I’m almost certain, but on clay, if Ward loses twice to Fognini and Seppi (or even Lorenzi), team GB will only need to lose once between 2 Murray singles rubbers and the doubles rubber to lose the tie. Those odds make me go with Italy, perhaps 3-2.
The Pick: Italy
Switzerland vs. Kazakhstan
Roger Federer and Stanislas Wawrinka lead the Swiss Express against Kazakhstan, backed up with Henri Laaksonen and Michael Lammer in reserve. Even with Stan out of form, Fed is playing well, and at home on indoor hard in Geneva they are expected to steamroll a Kazahk team made of up of Andrey Golubev, Mikhail Kukushkin, Aleksandr Nedovyesov and Evgeny Korolev. All three singles players for the Kazahks are ranked in the top 80, but Wawrinka and Federer are top ten, so assuming no injuries or funny business, I expect a 3-0/5-0 rout in this one.
The Pick: Switzerland