Let’s break it down:
Spain vs. USA (Outdoor Clay)
A fascinating match up. On any other surface I would give the edge to the Americans but betting against the Spanish on clay is a fool’s game.
Team Spain: David Ferrer, Nico Almagro, Marcel Granollers, Marc Lopez
Team Usa: John Isner, Sam Querry, Bryan Bros.
PREDICTION: Spain 3-2
Argentina vs. Czech Republic (Outdoor Clay)
Berdych, Stepanek and Del Potro all spent lots of hours on court at the US Open, so I’ll give Argentina the edge on clay. This could be won in the doubles for Argentina and Juan Monaco could be the deciding factor in singles.
Team Argentina: Juan Del Potro, Juan Monaco, Carlos Berlocq, Edu Schwank
Team Czech Republic: Tomas Berdych, Radek Stepanek, Lukas Rosol, Ivo Minar
PREDICTION: Argentina 3-2
World Group Playoffs:
Kazakhstan vs. Uzbekistan (Indoor Hard)
The quality of Denis Istomin won’t be enough to carry Uzbekistan through here.
PREDICTION: Kazakhstan 4-1
Germany vs. Australia (Outdoor Clay)
Lleyton Hewitt won’t stand for any nonsense from Tomic, so I expect Bernie to raise his game. Germany look solid as ever but unspectacular without Phil Kohlschreiber in the team.
PREDICTION: Australia 3-2
Japan vs. Israel (Outdoor Hard)
Israel always put up a strong doubles team, so expect them to pick up a point there, but the quality of the Japanese team now will be too strong.
PREDICTION: Japan 4-1
Belgium vs. Sweden (Outdoor Clay)
Belgium now have a legitimately strong outfit with Goffin and in-form Steve Darcis. The Swedes may put up some resistance in the doubles but it still looks a wash.
PREDICTION: Belgium 4-1
Canada vs. South Africa (Outdoor Hard)
Without big Kevin Anderson, the Saffers look understaffed against a Canadian team with a nice blend of youth (Raonic/Popisil) and experience (Nestor/Dancevic).
PREDICTION: Canada 3-2
Brazil vs. Russia (Outdoor Clay)
Evenly matched here. Brazil bring a superb singles player in Bellucci and a good doubles outfit in Melo and Soares. Russia field as weak a side as I’ve seen in years.
PREDICTION: Brazil 3-2
Italy vs. Chile (Outdoor Clay)
Chile look to be in the soup in this one with only Paul Capdeville for the Italians to worry about. Italy have strength and depth all down the line and they’re at home.
PREDICTION: Italy 5-0
Netherlands vs. Switzerland (Outdoor Clay)
A nice surprise to see Federer playing. A nasty surprise for the Dutch. Wawrinka played well in New York, so this looks to be a Swiss victory to me.
PREDICTION: Switzerland 4-1