It’s hotting up in the Davis Cup with some great ties for the quarter finals (all on clay!). It’s approaching the business end of the tournament with some important World Group Play-offs as well to consider.
Let’s break it down:
Spain vs. Austria (Outdoor Clay)
A tough assignment for Austria but they can rely on the experience of Jurgen ‘Tuna’ Melzer, still a top player and having a good year. They will need to call on Andreas Haider-Maurer to play well though, to stand a chance. If this was played on an indoor hard court, then you might give the Austrians a sniff, but no one has beaten the Spanish at home on clay, since Guga Kuerten led Brazil to victory in 1999. Add Ferrer back into the mix this time and it looks like a visit to the woodshed for Austria.
Team Spain: Nicolas Almagro, Marcel Granollers, David Ferrer and Marc Lopez.
Team Austria: Jurgen Melzer, Andreas Haider-Maurer, Alex Peya, Oliver Marach
PREDICTION: Spain 5-0
France vs. USA (Outdoor Clay)
The US of course beat the Swiss emphatically to reach the quarters and will fancy their chances against the French. New top 10 player Long John Isner will spearhead the effort with class A back in the Bryan brothers. Harrison played well in Miami, so this will be competitive. I’ll give the US an advantage in this one based on Courier‘s savvy on clay. Gael ‘Le Flake’ Monfils withdrew, so old reliable, Gilles Simon steps in. The doubles will be key again and a cracking encounter between 2 of the best teams in the world.
Team France: Jo Tsonga, Gilles Simon, Julien Benneteau, Michael Llodra
Team USA: Ryan Harrison, John Isner, Bob and Mike Bryan.
PREDICTION: US 3-2
Czech Republic vs. Serbia (Indoor Clay)
The Czechs are a little light in depth with Berdych and Stepanek carrying a full load. If one of them mis-fires it’s all over as I think the Serbs have too much depth for them. However, Steps is on fire in doubles and without their Talisman Djokovic, the Serbs do not have an obvious leader. It will be a close call, but I give the Czechs an edge in the doubles.
Team Czech Republic: Tomas Berdych, Radek Stepanek, Lukas Rosol and Frantisek Cermak.
Team Serbia: Janko Tipsarevic, Viktor Troicki, Nenad Zimonjic,
PREDICTION: Czechs 3-2
Croatia vs. Argentina (Outdoor Clay)
Juan Del Potro returns to the Argentine team for a tough tie against Croatia. Joined by a resurgent Nalbandian and in-form Juan ‘Pico’ Monaco, Argentina are favorite. Schwank has carved a role as their doubles specialist and will most likely have Nalbandian as partner. Cilic is back from injury and faces a tough ask on clay against a very partisan crowd, while Karlovic‘s serve can be nullified on the slow clay. I think the Argies will take Croatia to the woodshed for a beat down.
Team Croatia: Ivo Karlovic, Marin Cilic
Team Argentina: Juan Ignacio Chela, Juan Monaco, David Nalbandian and Eduardo Schwank.
PREDICTION: Argentina 4-1