Argentina have a genuine chance of making the 2013 Davis Cup final after being drawn at home to fifth-seeds, France, in the quarter-finals this April.
The 2011 finalists defied the Davis Cup odds with a 5-0 whitewash of Germany in the World Group round one, a result that showed this team mean business under captain, Martin Jaite, and are determined to banish claims they are the ‘nearly men’ of the Davis Cup.
Argentina have come second four times, thrice losing finals in the past seven years; the hurt of each defeat only makes the team more determined to win Davis Cup glory.
That resolve was exuded against Germany, where Juan Monaco and Carlos Berlocq rampaged through their singles clashes, buoyed by a vocal home support in the Parque Roca, Buenos Aires.
Their clay home has been described as a ‘fortress’ by tennis news pundits in recent seasons – Argentina have lost just one of their last seven clashes at the venue – and they have the home advantage over France this April.
Although Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Richard Gasquet will fight hard for their team, Argentina’s doubles pair, David Nalbandian and Horacio Zeballos, are the best in the business and should earn that vital point to see Argentina through 3-2.
Into the semis, they are most likely to play Czech Republic in a repeat of 2012’s last-four tie; they will want to avenge that 3-2 defeat at Parque Roca. The Czechs proved unnerved in front of +14,000 Argentinians that day, but, with their hosts still hurting, will come up against a different animal this time around.
Their route to the final is not easy but with the home advantage, Argentina should make it. Whether or not they have the capacity to win the Davis Cup for the first time is another thing, but for now Jaite’s men can do nothing but concentrate on France.
Verdict: Argentina 3-1 France, 5-7 April.
(Source: Joe Short Betting.Betfair.com)